Edited by: Michael Y. Park
& Stella Shon
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Sometimes, things go wrong during a vacation: The airline loses your luggage. Or your plane is late, causing you to miss your cruise ship’s departure. Or your child gets sick and needs to visit a hospital in a country where you don’t speak the local language.
And sometimes, things go really wrong on vacation: You suffer a bad fall while rock climbing in the middle of nowhere, and the nearest hospital that can provide the surgery you need is hundreds of miles away. Even worse, you’re in the country without your family, and you’d much prefer to recuperate at a hospital near your family with better facilities and staff who speak your language.
Many travel insurance providers can handle the first few examples. Very few can help with the latter, and even those who can help with medical evacuation will simply transport you to the closest available hospital. Your family members can come to your bedside — at their own expense.
But not if you have a Medjet travel insurance plan.
While Medjet won’t help you with costs for toothpaste and clean underwear when the airline loses your suitcase, it will provide medical transportation to the hospital of your choosing, even if it’s not deemed necessary. This can be a huge comfort.
However, you’ll pay for this convenience. Is it worth it? Let’s take a look at this not-your-average-policy provider to see if it makes sense for your trips.
Travel insurance is meant to protect your investment (read: money) in an upcoming trip, shielding you from losses in case something goes wrong. If you miss a connecting flight and get stuck somewhere overnight, there could be expenses. The same applies to canceling a trip at the last minute because your teenager got hurt in a football game but your deposit for an excursion was nonrefundable. Enter travel insurance.
Travel insurance could help you with some of the following situations:
But Medjet is a bit different from traditional travel insurance. Consider the following cases that MedJet would cover:
Medjet exists for these types of travel situations, as you could be medically transported to a hospital in your home country — even if it’s not an emergency and not declared a life-saving necessity, which is required for transport under most other policies.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous travelers had to change, cancel, or delay their vacations. Others found themselves with escalating costs after testing positive in a foreign country and being required to quarantine.
While these sound like common situations covered by travel insurance, that’s not necessarily true. Some companies exclude COVID-19 from travel insurance coverage under exclusions for known pandemics — terms introduced in the past, before the outbreak of COVID-19.
Additionally, choosing to voluntarily cancel your trip for fear of getting sick or testing positive isn’t covered by travel insurance.
For a travel insurance policy to include coverage for COVID-19, such as medical expenses or expenses related to quarantine, you must ensure the policy specifically lists COVID-19 as a covered reason. If not, you may need to add cancel for any reason (CFAR) insurance, which bears an additional cost.
Make sure you read the terms of any policy you’re considering; that way, you’ll know exactly what it does and doesn’t cover related to COVID-19.
Luckily, Medjet treats COVID-19 like other illnesses that require medical transport — rather than exempting it from coverage as a known pandemic. That means testing positive or getting sick can be covered by your Medjet policy without any special additions. That said, Medjet cannot bypass any local regulations, such as requirements to quarantine or to test negative before you can depart the country.
Before choosing a travel insurance company, your first consideration should be ensuring the company is reliable and reputable.
Medjet has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars on the travel insurance website Squaremouth (including no negative reviews). Medjet is backed by Lloyd’s of London, which has an A (excellent) rating from financial rating company A.M. Best. Thus, Medjet is reliable and worth considering if you plan to purchase a travel insurance policy. It’s rated highly by consumers and has sufficient financial strength that you don’t have to worry about the company going bankrupt and thus being unable to provide the care you need.
Medjet offers 2 plans, available to both individuals and corporations, and has 1 type of additional coverage. However, these plans are a bit different from your typical travel insurance and focus largely on getting you to a hospital that not only can provide top-notch care but also where you feel comfortable during treatment. That’s quite different from policies that tend to treat evacuation as a last resort.
It’s worth highlighting, however, that Medjet doesn’t own or operate the aircraft transporting you, nor does it employ the people treating you. These are contracted services, so don’t expect the people on the helicopter or plane to know the details of your policy.
Medjet doesn’t offer numerous plans with endless customizations and doesn’t cover things like delayed baggage or missed flight connections. Instead, Medjet focuses on medical transport. Plans — which are available to residents of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico — can be tailored to domestic or international travel, short-term or long-term coverage, and solo or family travelers. Essentially, there are 2 plans, and you just decide where and for how long coverage applies.
Neither policy has deductibles, claim forms, maximum coverage amounts, or exclusions for certain conditions. There aren’t waiting periods before you can request services, either. And it’s worth pointing out that Medjet doesn’t own medevac companies or operate the medevac flights. Instead, it’s a service provider with access to crews and aircraft that can meet your needs.
Let’s look at how the plans differ:
The more basic, less expensive plan is Medjet Assist. It provides the following:
The premium plan, Medjet Horizon, provides everything the Assist plan offers, plus:
The Horizon plan also offers security-related coverage that’s not available with the Assist plan, including:
Medjet touts that it covers NFL teams when they play international games, which is a high vote of confidence.
Corporate and organizational membership plans are available for your company, too. These can include school trips, faculty attending an overseas conference, and other groups traveling on behalf of their company. Pricing depends on the specifics of each group. You can submit an inquiry form for these plans.
The motorcycle return coverage is an interesting option not found with other providers. Medjet understands that you want to know what happens to your motorcycle if you need to be evacuated. This optional add-on provides up to $3,500 of coverage to get your motorcycle home from your evacuation location, whether it’s in driving condition or not.
Plans are available on an annual and temporary basis with the following timelines:
Signing up for Medjet is easy. You can call 800-527-7478 within the U.S. or +1-205-595-6626 from outside the U.S. You also can enroll online.
You start by choosing an individual or family plan and then either an annual or short-term policy. Do note that those who are 75 to 84 years old must apply for a Diamond membership, which requires filling out an additional health questionnaire.
After choosing the number of travelers, plan length, coverage locations (student, international, or domestic only), and maximum length of any trip in your plan (90 days, 180 days, or 365 days), you then choose whether you want the Assist or Horizon plan.
For a solo traveler choosing an annual Horizon plan with a maximum trip length of 90 days, the cost is $474 per year. That drops to $315 if you choose the Assist plan, which focuses just on medical evacuation.
After choosing a plan that fits your needs and budget, provide your details. It’s important to note that coverage only applies to trips 150 or more miles from the residence listed on your plan.
Numerous travel insurance companies exist, and most offer multiple plans. Comparing the 2 types of Medjet travel insurance policies against each other is pretty easy.
But what if you want to compare these against other travel insurance providers? That’s where comparison websites can help.
As Medjet isn’t a traditional travel insurance provider, it’s important to only compare it to other companies offering similar services for medical transport. Using InsureMyTrip, we compared Medjet to Global Traveler.
Here’s an overview of their coverage categories and limits:
Aside from the costs, with Medjet being more expensive, the biggest differences are your role in the decision-making process and where you can be evacuated to through the service. With Global Traveler, the initial first responder makes the decision to evacuate, and you can only be evacuated to the nearest suitable hospital. There’s also a $1,000,000 aggregate limit during your plan.
Medjet, on the other hand, lets you choose which hospital you want to be moved to — for any reason, so long as you’re medically cleared for the move. And the decision to move is up to you, not anyone else, so long as you’re stable enough for the flight. There’s also no maximum coverage amount.
You may have a credit card that provides travel insurance. Many travel-focused credit cards offer coverage sufficient for straightforward vacations, inexpensive trips, or journeys without significant nonrefundable costs. However, this type of coverage doesn’t include everything a comprehensive travel insurance policy might offer.
For comparison, let’s evaluate Medjet’s premium policy, Horizon, against 2 premium credit cards offering robust insurance coverage: The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve®. Before we get started, note that you may have to enroll for some of the Amex benefits described below. You also should note that there’s a cost for travel insurance policies, Medjet or otherwise, while the protections from your credit card don’t cost anything beyond the card’s usual annual fee.
|The Platinum Card® from American Express
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®
|Can be provided for you at no cost if coordinated through the Premium Global Assist Hotline
|Up to $100,000
|Included for up to 2 evacuations during your membership year
|Conditions for Coverage
|The Premium Global Assist Hotline will determine what hospital you go to if evacuation is deemed medically necessary
|Must be preapproved by the benefits administrator and deemed medically necessary
|You decide if you want to move to another hospital, and Medjet will transport you if you’re stable
|Coverage for Preexisting Conditions
|Ground Ambulance and Specialty Hospital Transfer (Under 150 Miles)
|Travel and Emergency Assistance
|Evacuation for Political or Natural Disaster
|Crisis Response for Kidnapping, Blackmail, or Wrongful Detention
As you can see, much of what Medjet offers is not included in coverage from credit card travel insurance.
With Medjet travel insurance, there are no claims. There’s no paperwork to fill out, no coverage maximum, no money that you pay for services received, and no reimbursement you have to wait for. If you’re covered for transportation through Medjet, it’s done at no cost to you.
That’s a stark contrast from other plans that typically involve numerous forms, long waiting periods, and a frustrating wait for reimbursement of hundreds or thousands of dollars of expenses you incurred during mishaps on vacation.
Not dealing with this bureaucracy is a huge upside with Medjet. So is the fact that being transported is your decision — not that of a claims adjudicator acting in the best interests of your travel insurance provider, which may clash with yours.
However, there are downsides. Getting medical clearance for an evacuation can take time, especially depending on where you are, the visa process for flight crew coming from a neighboring country, and the fact that this policy doesn’t cover any other aspects of your trip.
Thus, you may need 2 travel insurance policies if you enroll: Medjet’s for your medical transport and another that can cover costs related to delays, cancellations, or baggage mishaps. You also should understand which plan (existing or new) would cover the actual medical bills. Make sure you consider that cost on top of the price tag for a Medjet plan because Medjet only provides transportation. These plans don’t cover the actual hospital bills for your treatment.
Medjet offers a unique service. Rather than typical travel insurance, it provides transport from the hospital where you are to the hospital you want to be without deductibles or copays.
However, Medjet doesn’t cover the things “normal” travel insurance covers, like trip delays, lost luggage, or even the medical bills from the facility you’re transported to by Medjet. If you’re looking for those, another policy will serve you better.
However, if you’re seeking top-notch transport and evacuation services with little bureaucracy, then Medjet might be what you’re looking for.
For the premium global assist hotline benefit of The Platinum Card® from American Express, eligibility and benefit level varies by Card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details. If approved and coordinated by premium global assist hotline, emergency medical transportation assistance may be provided at no cost. In any other circumstance, card members may be responsible for the costs charged by third-party service providers.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
Yes, it does. There are no exclusions for preexisting conditions with Medjet.
AirMed also provides medical transportation services if you want to be moved to another hospital after becoming sick or injured. Both AirMed and Medjet provide hospital-to-hospital transport services without copays or deductibles. Both can accept preexisting conditions.
The main difference is that Medjet contracts with the actual transportation companies and service providers. AirMed, on the other hand, owns its own aircraft and doesn’t contract services from others to move you to your desired hospital.
No, it isn’t. To be perfectly clear, Medjet can move you from Hospital A to Hospital B if you want to be closer to family, attended by a certain doctor, or moved to a different hospital for any reason you choose. However, the actual cost of your treatment is not covered by Medjet. Medjet simply provides the transport as part of your membership cost. The doctor’s bills and any medications are not covered by your Medjet plan.
Medjet can transfer you from where you are to the hospital of your choice if you become sick or injured while away from home. It works by contracting flight and medical services from numerous providers and then coordinating with the hospital where you are (to ensure you’re stable enough to move) and the hospital you want to go to (to prepare for your arrival). This is done without copays or additional costs to you, just the cost of your annual membership.
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Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.
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