Sochi Olympics Alert
As of January 10, 2014, the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for American citizens traveling to the Russian Federation for the Sochi Winter Olympics, recommending Emergency Medical Evacuation insurance. You can view the full Sochi Travel Alert from the State Department on their website.
For detailed information on InsureMyTrip's advice to travelers in this situation, we recommend reading our blog post, Sochi: When the Government Recommends Travel Insurance.
Medical Evacuation coverage is available either as part of a Comprehensive Plan or Travel Medical Plan, or as a stand-alone travel insurance policy. The purpose of Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage is to ensure that if you sustain a serious injury or illness while traveling that requires specialized care, you would be able to be transported to an appropriate facility without incurring a potentially ruinous financial burden.
Important things to note when researching Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage include:
Basic evacuation policies will stipulate that you can be evacuated to the nearest “hospital of excellence.” This clause means that your transport provider would determine where you’d be taken, based on geography and the capabilities of any hospital in the area. While you would likely receive very good care at these facilities, some travelers are more comfortable having the ability to choose their own care facilities. If you are one of those travelers, you may want to look into a policy that would offer you “Hospital of Choice” coverage; with this benefit, you would be evacuated to a hospital you had already selected, as long as it was deemed safe to get you there.
With the majority of medical evacuation plans, the insurance provider will make all of the arrangements for you, so you don’t have to worry about how the transport will happen while you’re in the midst of a crisis. However, it’s essential that you understand exactly how your provider expects to communicate with you in order to make those arrangements. Generally, you must have your provider approve any evacuation in advance in order to have it covered under your insurance policy.
What’s Covered, What’s Not
Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage is just that – coverage for the expenses of the evacuation. It does not necessarily cover the cost of any medical services you receive once you’re at the hospital, so make sure you read and understand the details of your plan and purchase additional travel medical insurance if necessary. However, there are some additional benefits included in many evacuation plans that many travelers may not be aware of, such as assistance with getting any family members at home to the hospital where you’ve been taken, and arranging for commercial flights back home once you’ve been released from the hospital and are well enough to travel. In tragic circumstances, most Emergency Medical Evacuation Plans will also provide repatriation of remains – getting your remains transported home to your loved ones.