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Medical Evacuation Process

02 November 2023

This article sets out to clarify and debunk many misconceptions as to how medical insurance companies handle medevac situations.

Emergency medical evacuation is a vital part of any expat's medical coverage, especially if residing in a country with limited medical services that may not be up to the standards you would expect at home.

When an insured member falls ill or suffers an injury, there's a chance the treatment they need isn't available locally. In many continents such as Africa, this chance is much higher as Africa is a huge continent. The same could be said of other places around the globe such as India, the USA and Nepal by way of examples.

Depending on the severity of the injury or illness, suitable medical facilities may be few and far between. This is where emergency medical evacuation cover comes in.

What is the medical evacuation process

The following steps of procedure are common to most insurers but specifically so to the providers we recommend.

Insurers handle all aspects of the evacuation, including liaising with medical teams on the ground, logistics, securing admission at the destination hospital, and handling passport/visa issues.

Insurers also typically work with a number of air ambulances in the various regions around the globe on a case-by-case basis.

Step 1

Either the member or travel partner / tour guide notifies the insurer of a medical emergency via a call to the 24/7 emergency medical assistance helpline prominently displayed on member cards and policy documents.

Step 2

The insurer will assess the situation and the situation on the ground, whilst the insurance medical team establishes the particulars of the member's medical condition.

Step 3

The insurers will sort the logistics and organise the evacuation destination and the means of transport that best suit the member's interests. Insurers take several criteria into account, including severity of the member's medical condition and air ambulance availability.

Step 4

Air ambulance transport if required will arrive to collect the member. With the member's admission secured at a destination hospital, transportation is then effected.