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Do you have any idea how much an ambulance ride costs? How about an air ambulance? If you said a few thousand dollars, well, then you’re more than a few thousand dollars short. One man in New York got hit with an astounding $653,000 bill when he had a heart attack aboard a cruise ship near the British Virgin Islands and had to be airlifted to Syracuse, New York. That number is not a typo.

Before the pandemic hit, the number of North Americans traveling the globe was in the millions, raising the odds of a travel medical emergency somewhere along the way. And though air and cruise travel ground to a halt in 2020, it’s coming back full swing: according to AAA, more than 47 million Americans celebrated the July 4th holiday weekend with a getaway. And, road trips will continue to dominate the summer.

Although some health insurance companies will pay “customary and reasonable” hospital costs abroad, very few will pay for your medical evacuation back to the United States—and, by the way, Medicare does NOT cover you when you’re abroad (with a few exceptions). In fact, according to www.medicare.gov, foreign hospitals aren’t required to file Medicare claims and in most cases, you pay 100% of the costs. There are exceptions, but few and far between. Ditto for Canadian provincial/territorial health card carriers.

Add to this the fact that many hospitals and doctors abroad operate on a “pay first, assist later” basis and you could find yourself in a financial quandary on top of your health issues.

But what if the emergency happens within the United States—isn’t it cheaper and/or covered? Not necessarily. Traditional health insurance coverage or even many medevac membership programs may only take you to the nearest appropriate facility: not to your own doctor and hospital so you can avoid costly out-of-network bills.

In fact, being a member of an emergency medical travel services program like SkyMed pays off in more ways than just covering an air evacuation. In an emergency, time is always of the essence, plus inclusions such as the return of dependent children, vehicle return, replacement of corrective lenses and medical devices, translation services, and more can really make a difference.

While you can’t prevent an unexpected travel medical emergency, you can prepare for it. If a medical mishap should happen to you when you’re away from home—whether it’s across the globe or across the country—with SkyMed you can have the peace of mind knowing someone is at the other end of the line ready to help you get home.

And it won’t cost you a dime more than what you paid for your membership!

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