Best Air Ambulance Insurance
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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2021
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You might think you don’t need air medical transport insurance. After all, you already did the smart thing and purchased travel insurance for your upcoming trip.
There’s a chance your travel insurance policy doesn’t cover an air ambulance transport, and if it does, it may only cover your air medical expenses to the closest hospital that can serve you.
Even then, you might only qualify if air transport is deemed medically necessary. This determination could be made by local doctors in a country where you do not speak the language, making it difficult to fully communicate your symptoms and concerns.
Purchasing air ambulance insurance can provide peace of mind to people who frequently travel internationally or who have relocated abroad but who would prefer to receive medical treatment in their previous country of residence.
This can also help defray medical transportation costs for people who live in underserved areas, like rural and mountain regions of the mainland U.S. or island nations and territories in the Caribbean.
10 Best Air Ambulance Insurance Providers
Here are the top 10 providers of air ambulance insurance:
- Global Guardian
- AirMed International
- Global Rescue
- International SOS
- Masa Assist
- Air Rescue Card
- Air Evac Life Team
- Life Flight Network
Medjet provides travelers with 24/7 access to a network of 250 air ambulances that operate out of 50 dispatch centers across the world.
Patients who meet the criteria for medical transport are transferred via air ambulance or a commercial flight with a medical escort and are received at a hospital of their choice.
To apply, visit the Medjet website and select the “Enroll” button to choose coverage options for yourself or your family. There’s also a separate option for older individuals. Select whether you need coverage for international or domestic travel, then identify if you are a student or faculty member. Select a tier of coverage based on how much time you regularly spend abroad. You’ll be quoted a price, and then you can fill out a form to apply online.
- MedjetAssist Coverage: With this plan, if you are hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, Medjet will transport you to the hospital of your choice in your home country, whether or not it’s medically necessary. Language translation assistance is available, too.
- MedjetHorizon Coverage: This plan is an upgrade from MedjetAssist coverage. In addition to medical transportation, it provides travel security and crisis response support.
Global Guardian Air Ambulance
Air Ambulance Card was founded in 2002 and acquired by Global Guardian in 2017. Global Guardian, based in McLean, Virginia, is an international security and risk management company staffed by former military special operations and federal law enforcement personnel.
Air Ambulance Card is underwritten by Lloyd’s of London and provides its customers with 24-hour access to more than 50 aircraft stationed at 15 bases across the globe. They will arrange for medical transport and repatriation to a hospital of the patient’s choosing in the U.S. or Canada.
If you are interested in becoming a Global Guardian Air Ambulance member, apply online. Provide your email address on the company’s website. Plans start at $265 per year for individuals and $385 per year for families. If you take longer trips abroad, you’ll have to purchase an expatriate-level plan.
Plans cover individuals and families who are traveling domestically or internationally more than 150 miles from home. Transport will be provided without an assessment of medical necessity. If every trip you take is less than three months, you’ll qualify for basic plans. Expatriate coverage is available for six-month or year-long increments if you travel abroad for more than three months at a time. Customers are eligible to enroll regardless of preexisting health conditions.
With more than 18,000 missions completed, AirMed International claims to be the leading air ambulance and medical transport company in the U.S.
This company operates its own fleet of customized and permanently configured jets, and it employs its own dispatch, medical, and flight teams. Customers have 24-hour access to their services.
AirMed boasts partnerships with the Mayo Clinic and U.S. Department of Defense, as well as a customer roster, including U.S. Presidents. This organization says they have provided care in 250 cities across 150 countries.
To apply for coverage, visit AirMed’s website. You’ll be able to select from a variety of individual or family plans for different durations. Short-term, extended-stay and study abroad plans are available, too. When you select a plan online, you’ll be asked for personal information, membership details, and payment credentials. You can then review and purchase your plan.
AirMed membership plans provide customers with access to emergency and nonemergency air medical transport services and repatriation. Standard plans cover customers traveling more than 150 miles from home who do not spend more than 90 consecutive days per year in a foreign country. Short-term plans are available in 14-day and 30-day stretches. Expatriate plans cover customers who spend more than 90 consecutive days per year abroad.
Global Rescue is headquartered in New Hampshire with additional operation centers in the Netherlands, Ukraine, Pakistan, and the Philippines.
They provide integrated medical, security, travel risk, and crisis management services throughout the world and partner with prominent organizations like the Johns Hopkins Department of Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations.
In addition to providing extensive services for partner institutions and large enterprises, individual and family plans are available from Global Rescue.
Applying for a personal membership through Global Rescue starts by selecting the Travel or Totalcare option online. You’ll then select your level of coverage, whether it’s for an individual or a whole family. Special coverage options are available for students and for those aged 75 to 85. Then, input your coverage duration. You can choose an annual plan or short-term coverage lasting seven, 14, or 30 days.
Lastly, share the maximum number of consecutive days you’ll spend traveling, regardless of how many trips you take per year. There are options for 45 days, 90 days, 180 days, or 365 days. Decide whether you want to sign up for automatic renewal, then proceed to checkout. You can also sign up for an additional security membership for emergency rescue operations.
- Global Rescue Travel Coverage: Global Rescue plans include medical consultation and evacuation for members who are traveling more than 100 miles away from home.
- Global Rescue TotalCare Coverage: This membership option includes Travel coverage, plus 24-hour access to urgent and specialty consultations conducted virtually.
This international security and risk management organization has its global headquarters in London and Singapore, and instead of offering memberships directly, they primarily offer business solutions that enable companies to protect their workers during international travel.
International SOS claims to employ 77,000 medical and security professionals around the world, and they will provide first steps for employees seeking support. They help companies prepare their workers for travel, support them while they’re abroad, and provide them with direct assistance when needed. International SOS also offers personal travel assistance memberships.
To begin, select the “Personal Travel” tab on the International SOS website. Then, you can follow a link to learn more and get a quote. Select your country of residence and your reason for traveling. Decide whether you want a plan that covers one short-term trip or multiple trips per year, or select an expatriate plan. Share your departure and return dates. Enter information about your trip, and the International SOS’s website will recommend plans and prices.
Personal Travel International SOS Coverage: Standard coverage for personal travel from International SOS includes medical assistance services like evacuation and repatriation, medical referrals, medication dispatching, and medical monitoring. You’ll also receive access to the company’s Assistance App and personal assistance, like help with lost documents and emergency interpreter services.
SkyMed has been providing medical transport services for decades, and members receive coverage through SkyMed as long as they’re traveling within the 32 countries known as the SkyMed UNIVERSE throughout North America and the Caribbean.
Beyond the SkyMed UNIVERSE, travelers can receive worldwide evacuation and repatriation support for medically necessary transport if they purchase a GLOBAL plan. The company also provides emergency medical transport to other U.S. destinations for customers in the U.S. Virgin Islands. SkyMed offers travel agency services, too.
To apply for a membership from SkyMed online, select whether you would like to purchase a short-term, annual, or expatriate plan. Short-term plans are available for as little as $9 per day. Enter your coverage dates for short-term coverage. For all plans, select whether you want individual or family coverage. For annual and expatriate plans, decide whether you want to purchase one-year or five-year coverage. The website will help you complete the enrollment process.
SkyMed Emergency Travel Evacuation Coverage: Emergency travel evacuation coverage from SkyMed will provide medical transport from approved travel areas to the patient’s home hospital as well as a medical escort if traveling on a commercial flight. Other key services are provided under all standard plans. Stranded vehicles may be returned by SkyMed, too.
MASA stands for Medical Air Services Association, and after more than forty years in business, it has garnered one million members.
MASA Assist air ambulance support provides ten standard services for members worldwide: emergency air transportation, organ retrieval and recipient transportation, repatriation and recuperation, return, escort, and non-injury transportation, minor children and vehicle return, and mortal remains transport.
Services are available 24 hours per day. MASA Assist says they will not raise rates on members who retain their subscription, and they do not use medical qualifications to determine coverage. They operate offices throughout the Caribbean. Group plans are a significant component of their business.
To apply for coverage through the MASA Assist website, first select your country or the U.S. territory where you live. You’ll be directed toward individual and family membership options along with an explanation of benefits. Enter your contact information. You will have to decide if you want to pay annually or monthly, which will default to automatic renewal for each month. If you pay annually you can select automatic renewal, too. To start a membership, you will have to pay an initiation fee.
MASA Assist will fly members to the nearest facility that can provide sufficient medical treatment for the member’s illness or injury. Ground transportation to an air ambulance is covered. If you are hospitalized away from home for more than seven days, MASA Assist will cover travel for a companion to visit you. Membership coverage extends worldwide.
Air Rescue Card
Air Rescue Card, which is operated by Travel Assist Network, provides worldwide emergency evacuation and repatriation protection.
This company is recognized by the Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems, and customers have 24-hour access to their services. Plans are available for individuals, families, senior citizens, and groups.
To enroll in Air Rescue Card protection, call (866) 845-3809 or apply online. Select whether you want to purchase an individual, family, senior, or corporate plan. Then, decide whether you need to buy a short-term, annual, or long-term membership. You’ll then provide your time frame for coverage, and you’ll share your personal and billing information. Submit your payment to complete the process.
Coverage kicks in when you are traveling 99 miles away from home or farther. In the event of an emergency situation, you will be transported to the nearest medical facility that can provide adequate treatment.
Depending on the circumstances, you may be transported home by Air Rescue Card services if it is safe to do so. Air Rescue Card will return your vehicle, too. Additional benefits include local medical referrals, nurse or physician dispatching to your hotel, and medication delivery.
You can also get coverage for interpreter services, lost luggage, local legal services, and emergency legal fees and bail.
Air Evac Lifeteam
Operated by Air Evac EMS Inc., and a part of the Global Medical Response family of companies, Air Evac Lifeteam provides services through a network of 140 air medical bases in 15 states.
Air Evac Lifeteam specializes in providing air medical services for remote communities in the U.S., like the small towns near their headquarters in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. The company has access to helicopter air ambulances that are capable of responding to emergencies or transporting patients between hospitals for care.
Applying for an Air Evac Lifeteam membership can be done online or over the phone. Call (800) 793-0010 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., Central time, Monday through Friday, or apply on the AirMedCare Network website. You’ll start by entering personal information like your name, email address, and phone number.
The annual membership fee is $85 per family, and the policy goes into effect 15 days after your payment is received, though the waiting period can be waived if an incident occurs due to unforeseen circumstances.
Members are covered for emergency transport with participating providers in 38 states. This protection covers you at home and while traveling in covered states if you need to use Air Evac Lifeteam Services.
The company will collect compensation through your health insurance or a third party first, but members will be considered fully prepaid for the balance instead of later receiving an air ambulance bill.
Life Flight Network
This Oregon-based limited liability company is operated on a not-for-profit basis and partners with not-for-profit hospitals and a public corporation to provide emergency air medical services.
The company uses helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and ground transportation to provide medical transport services in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, including in remote regions of these states. Transport is provided from emergency sites to a hospital and between hospitals.
Apply to become a Life Flight Network member online or by calling (800) 982-9299. Decide whether you want an air-only membership, or if you’re in Oregon or Fremont County, Idaho, a combined air-and-ground membership. Select the “self” or “gift” option, and decide on the length of your membership, whether that’s one year, two years, five years, or a lifetime. You’ll enter your personal information and payment details, and you’ll submit the form to sign up.
Air transport membership plans cover medically necessary air ambulance emergent transportation. The company will recoup expenses from your health insurance first, and you will not owe any remaining balance on the flight. Under most circumstances, one membership will cover your entire household.
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Do You Need Air Ambulance Insurance?
Air ambulance services can save lives. There’s a lot to consider when you’re deciding which medical air transport membership to purchase.
Everybody’s needs are different, and companies vary widely in the kinds of coverage they provide, catering to very different customer bases.
That’s why it’s important to shop around and compare prices and types of coverage to find the solution that works best for you.