When Medical Travel Insurance Isn’t Enough: Why You Need Air Medical Transport with Medjet

Air Medical Transport with Medjet
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The difference between travel medical insurance and an air medical transport membership by Medjet, and why this type of premium coverage is worthwhile. 

Insurance may seem unnecessary until you need it. Whether you invest in travel medical insurance or receive complimentary benefits from your credit card, we all know how valuable coverage can be if something unexpected happens.

After spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on airfare, lodging, tours, and activities to save money, you might be tempted to waive medical insurance. You may even question the likelihood of needing medical assistance during your domestic or overseas trip. 

But you can slip and fall, get sick, eat something that doesn’t go well, or suffer from a medical emergency at any point in time. All of these can land you in a hospital, and with stats pointing to one in 30 trips ending in a medical emergency, having travel medical insurance is important. 

As a budget-conscious traveler, I’ve cut corners and worked to reduce costs to afford travel. Still, if I found myself in a situation where if I had to be hospitalized or medically evacuated, medical bills would throw me into financial ruin. 

Overall, travel medical insurance reimburses you for the costs associated with medical emergencies while traveling, like medication, doctor visits and hospital stays, and in an emergency, the medical evacuation benefits can be lifesaving. 

But most medevac benefits will only get you to the nearest “acceptable” hospital capable of stabilizing and treating you. To get moved home, just because you prefer to be treated at home, you need an air-medical transport membership like Medjet.

Whether you stumbled on this article while researching Medjet, or are curious about air medical coverage options for travelers, keep reading to learn why travel medical insurance may not be enough.

This blog post is written in partnership with Medjet. All opinions shared are my own. 

I may receive a small commission if you purchase a Medjet membership at no additional cost. 

What is Medjet?

Medjet is an air medical transport and travel security membership program that provides hospital-to-hospital air medical transport to a hospital at home. You can also add travel security and crisis response benefits if you’re going someplace where you may be concerned with your safety. Residents of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are eligible to join.

Unlike standard travel medical insurance, which covers medical transportation to the nearest hospital that can treat you, with Medjet, when you are sick, hurt, or suffering from a medical emergency over 150 miles from home, you can ask to be transferred to a hospital of your choice near your home. 

Doesn’t travel medical insurance cover medical air evacuation home? 

No. If you read the terms carefully (always read policy terms carefully), they say “hospital of choice” which typically means hospital of choice in the city or county you are currently in. They’ll only move you all the way home if they deem it “medically necessary”. They prefer you be treated where you are, then repatriated (flown home) when recovered via commercial air.

A Medjet membership comes in handy when visiting a destination, either domestic or abroad, where the standard of care is lower than what you’d expect at home, or your treatment requires an extended hospital stay. 

There are several reasons why you’d want to be evacuated home:

Perhaps you prefer receiving care from your trusted medical team who knows your medical history, or you want to be closer to family and friends. 

You prefer to be back home where you can tap into your health insurance network benefits, lowering your out-of-pocket responsibilities. If you run over the medical limits of your travel insurance, the overrun is your cost. This can, in a serious accident or illness, destroy your life savings.

Suppose you’re hospitalized in a country where you don’t speak the language. In that case, it may be challenging to communicate with the medical team, fully understand your diagnosis, make educated decisions and advocate for yourself. 

Whatever your reason, Medjet offers the option to get home safely, arranging and paying for transportation to your home hospital, regardless of whether it’s medically necessary. They even keep in touch with your family communicating timely updates every step of the way. They also follow up with you after you’ve settled in. There are never any claims, out-of-pocket expenses or surprise bills afterwards.

To clarify, Medjet does not offer travel insurance or pay hospital bills.

While travel insurance covers your trip costs and medical expenses, Medjet transports you home to your preferred medical facility. 

This membership sits on top of your travel medical insurance as additional coverage to transport you home safely, whether for a medical emergency or a threatening safety concern, which we’ll discuss in the next section. 

What Medjet does not cover, and things to know: 

Medjet will not reimburse you for expenses you make on your own. Also, you must be an active Medjet member before leaving your primary residence for your trip. 

You cannot sign up while traveling or in the hospital. If you’ve been discharged from a hospital, Medjet will not fly you home. 

As an active member, the best thing you can do in a crisis is call the number on the back of your card to request assistance and walk through your situation with a team member for guidance. 

How does Medjet work? 

There are two main membership options: MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon. 

MedjetAssist is a hospital-to-hospital membership that arranges medical flight transport to your home hospital regardless of whether the move is necessary. 

As long as you’re stable, choose where you’ll be moved to, and Medjet handles all the paperwork and logistics plus, covers the transport costs. 

MedjetAssist also offers other helpful benefits like over-the-phone medical consultations where you can talk to a physician if you become sick or injured while traveling and language translation assistance. 

MedjetHorizon has all MedjetAssist features, plus adds 24/7 security and crisis response benefits. There is an emergency line staffed with security experts that you can call anytime you feel your safety is threatened. Response can range from advice to boots-on-the-ground response, and security evacuation if necessary.

MedjetHorizon also has some enhanced medical transport coverages like ground ambulance transport within 150 miles from home.

Most people buy Medjet for a big international trip, but as long as you’re 150 miles from home, you’re eligible for a transport home (or security response for MedjetHorizon members). So benefits are in effect for road trips, domestic travel and cruises as well.

Short-term membership options for 8 day, 15, 21, or 30 day trips are all available, as well as annual memberships. Annual memberships are recommended if you travel more than two times per year. 

Medjet Cost

Memberships start at $99 for an eight-day trip for individuals. Annual MedjetAssist memberships for unlimited travel in a year costs $315 for an individual and $425 for families (two adults and up to five kids). 

Annual MedjetHorizon memberships start at $474/yr Individual, $614/yr Family. If you live or work abroad, or plan to study abroad, there are also “Expat180” “Expat365” and “Student/Faculty” memberships that allow for longer trips abroad.

As I mentioned, standard travel and medical insurance sometimes aren’t enough; here are (5) scenarios where having a MedjetHorizon membership would be beneficial. 

1. Air Medical Transport 

All-expenses paid air medical transport from a hospital more than 150 miles from home to a hospital of choice in your home city or home country.  

If less than 150 miles from your home, MedjetHorizon members have the added benefit of ground ambulance transfer. 

2. Natural Disaster

With the effects of global warming, natural disasters are becoming more frequent. 

If you need assistance during an earthquake, flood, forest fire, tornado, tsunami, volcano eruption, or some other natural disaster, help can get you back home safely.  

3. Wrongful Detention 

Whether unjustly or falsely detained or arrested without legal ground or merit, a crisis consultant can help with your release, including hiring legal help and a language interpreter.

4. Disappearance 

In the event of your disappearance, where time is of the essence, search and rescue are on the way. If more than 48 hours have passed and your loved ones have lost contact with you, they can call in for advice, and a crisis consultant may be deployed to investigate your disappearance and attempt to locate you. 

5. Violent Crime

As travelers, we risk falling victim to crime, petty theft, and more serious crimes.

Especially after the trials and tribulations felt globally over the last few years, previously “safe” travel destinations now require extra precaution. 

Whether you feel threatened or have become a victim of an act of violence, MedjetHorizon members can call the 24/7 Crisis Response Center to get advice. 

If necessary, an in-country crisis consultant will be dispatched to help you find safety, receive medical attention, or coordinate with the police. 

A MedjetHorizon membership also covers political threats, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, pandemics, and more. 

Why did we sign up for Medjet? 

Our decision to sign up for Medjet was simple. The cost savings if the worst happens while traveling and peace of mind for ourselves and our loved ones made the membership worth it.  

If we find ourselves in a medical emergency far away from home, we have a resource to turn to get us back to a home hospital safely. 

As for cost savings, medical air transport ranges from $30,000 to $200,000 out-of-pocket but $0 for Medjet members. Since we frequently travel for leisure and business and have a large appetite for adventure, MedjetHorizon covers all our needs. 

Another thing I appreciated is the ability to read the full policy online. Written in plain English, it was easy to understand and laid out clearly. 

Please read the eligibility requirements, rules, and regulations before purchasing a Medjet membership. Benefits are subject to change at any time. 

The FAQs found on their website are thorough and detailed. They also encourage you to contact customer service — the 800 number is visible anywhere on the website. 

Being able to talk to an actual person makes a difference. 

Also, as a female solo traveler, knowing I have 24/7 access to crisis response professionals when I feel unsafe anywhere around the world offers an added sense of security that traditional travel insurance doesn’t cover. 

If something unfortunate happens to me, my loved ones can have a point of contact if we lose communication for an extended time. 

That peace of mind for my family, who is already anxious about me bobbing across the globe on my own, is priceless and worth way more than the annual membership fee. 

Less expensive than what you might expect, Medjet’s pricing is reasonable. Pay for what you want, like domestic U.S. or international and domestic coverage, and determine your membership length and level of protection, MedjetAssist or MedjetHorizon.  

I’ve heard horror stories of travelers stuck in a foreign hospital for months, unable to return home, and forced to raise funds for an emergency air evacuation. I cannot imagine how mentally, physically, and financially stressful that must be for all parties involved. 

Lastly, as parents of a small child, thinking about all the possible scenarios, including worst-case scenarios, all roads lead to Medjet as the right solution for our family. 

Is Medjet worth it? 

Unfortunately, things can happen on the road, and we want to be prepared to the best of our ability. Before signing up for MedjetHorizon, I did a lot of research. 

I read Medjet reviews where people mentioned that although the sign-up process was easy (which I agree with), they couldn’t comment any further because they never had to deal with an emergency. This is on par with what I’d expect. 

When enrolling, I appreciated customizing member details including membership term of up to five years, type of travel (international and domestic or domestic), and choosing the level of protection. The sign up process took a few minutes and I received a confirmation email with next steps which contained our membership number.

Within a few business days, we received a packet in the mail which included a copy of the Medjet Membership Rules and Regulations and our membership cards.

There’s even an app to keep your membership information easily accessible. Available for both iOS and Android devices, save your membership card to your Apple wallet and have worldwide click-to-call access to Medjet’s contact numbers, a list of your member benefits, and more.

We purchased an annual MedjetHorizon membership for peace of mind. Ideally, we want to avoid dealing with a medical or safety crisis while traveling, but if we do, we are fully covered to get back home.

Join thousands of travelers, including myself, who choose Medjet for peace of mind, air medical transport, travel security, and crisis protection. 

Get Medjet for you and your family, or give it to a traveling friend or loved one. I also recommend joining their newsletter to get insights and stay informed.

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