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Emergency Medical Benefits Vs. Emergency Medical Transportation Benefits

Emergency Medical Benefits Vs. Emergency Medical Transportation Benefits
Allianz - Emergency Medical Benefits Vs. Emergency Medical Transportation Benefits

Travel insurance can seem complicated sometimes. But when you think about it, insurance really just does three simple things. One, it can help you deal with travel inconveniences, like lost bags and delayed flights. Two, it can protect your travel investment, so you don’t lose all your money if you have to cancel a trip for a covered reason. And three, it can help you get care in the event of a covered medical emergency.

All these benefits are important. But the third one is extra important because your health — and potentially your life — can be profoundly affected by a medical emergency overseas. That’s why our travel insurance plans for international trips include both emergency medical and dental benefits and emergency medical transportation benefits. But what do these benefits actually mean, and do you need both? We’ll explain the difference.

What are emergency medical and dental benefits?

Emergency medical and dental benefits cover losses due to covered medical and dental emergencies that occur during your trip. By “losses,” we mean reasonable, medically necessary costs for medical or dental services, supplies and charges incurred for a covered health emergency.

There are a few really important words in this definition. One is “emergency.” Emergency medical benefits are designed to help you when you experience a serious, covered medical emergency. They do not cover things like elective cosmetic surgery, palliative care, experimental treatments or allergy treatments (unless life threatening). Also, emergency medical benefits are not the same thing as travel health insurance, and won’t cover routine medical care.

Another important word is “covered.” A covered reason for emergency medical benefits refers to a sudden, unexpected illness or injury during your trip that’s either life-threatening or could cause serious and irreparable harm if it isn’t treated. For emergency dental benefits, “covered reason” refers to an injury or infection, a lost filling or a broken tooth during your trip that requires immediate treatment by a dentist. So if you get a minor cut on your knee, or you chip your front tooth on an olive pit, those would not be covered.

But you don’t have to figure out yourself if a particular situation counts as a covered medical emergency. One main benefit of travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance is free, 24-hour access to our Assistance team. Call our hotline, or use the free TravelSmart app, and our experts can help you find the nearest doctor, review your case and determine where you can best be treated.

Note that emergency medical and dental benefits don’t cover an ambulance or medevac helicopter ride. That’s where emergency medical transportation benefits come in.

What are emergency medical transportation benefits?

Emergency medical transportation benefits can pay for you to be transported to the nearest appropriate facility, if you suffer a covered illness or injury during your trip and our medical assistance team determines that the local medical facilities are unable to provide appropriate medical treatment.

This benefit is absolutely crucial, because of the exorbitant costs of emergency medical transportation overseas. Even in the United States, health insurance providers won’t always cover a medevac helicopter.1 And when you’re seriously hurt or sick while traveling, you want our expert Assistance team on your side. Call the hotline in an emergency, and one of our six medical directors — all emergency room physicians at the University of Virginia — can assess your case (but not diagnose you) and communicate directly with doctors overseas. The main question we ask is, “Does the local hospital have the capabilities to treat you like you would be treated in the United States?”

If you can’t get medically appropriate care where you are, we leap into action to arrange emergency medical transportation, whether that’s an ambulance or a medevac helicopter. Please note, however, that in order to receive emergency medical transportation benefits, you (or your representative) must contact Allianz Global Assistance to make transportation arrangements in advance.

Emergency medical transportation benefits don’t stop there. They also can cover the cost of transporting you home following a covered serious injury or illness, if you’re unable to continue your trip and if you’re medically stable to return home via commercial transportation carrier. We can arrange and pay for a medical escort, too, if our medical team determines one is necessary. And, if you find out you’ll be hospitalized for more than seven days during your trip, we can arrange and pay for transportation for a friend or family member to stay with you.

How much emergency medical travel insurance do I need?

With OneTrip Prime, you get up to $25,000 in emergency medical and dental benefits and up to $500,000 in emergency medical transportation. OneTrip Premier doubles those limits. Do you really need that much? It’s impossible to predict when, or how, a medical emergency might happen, and how much it might cost. What you can do is assess your risk before you buy travel insurance.

The first major factor: What’s your destination? The cost of travel insurance is not affected by your destination, but emergency medical transportation can be wildly expensive in some countries. Our experts estimate the cost of a medical evacuation in some popular vacation spots as follows:

• Mexico: $15,000-$20,000
• South America: $100,000
• Germany, France or other developed European nations: $50,000-$100,000
• Russia: $90,000-$150,000 (weather conditions can dramatically increase costs)
• Asia, Australia, and the Middle East: $220,000

The second factor: How close will you be to modern medical facilities? If you’re spending your vacation visiting museums, shops, and patisseries in Paris, you know you’ll always be close to high-quality hospitals, if needed. If, however, you’re sailing to remote Polynesian islands, then you can assume a medical evacuation will be both necessary and expensive if you should suffer a serious covered injury or illness.

And the third factor: What activities are you planning? Even if you’re extremely fit, the risk of an injury rises when you’re engaged in pursuits like hiking, cycling, skiing or surfing. If you are planning an active vacation, remember to read the exclusions in your plan documents. Losses resulting from certain activities are not covered by travel insurance, such as participating in extreme, high-risk sports like skydiving, hang gliding, mountain climbing, caving and scuba diving below 120 feet (40 meters) or without a dive master.

Last of all: Call us! Our customer service team is happy to help explain emergency medical benefits vs. emergency medical transportation benefits, as well as answer any questions you might have about how much travel insurance you need. Your plan documents also describe all the benefits you receive in detail. Stay safe, and travel happy!

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