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6 Common Mistakes When Searching for Medical Travel Insurance

Posted on Tue, Jul 25, 2017

travel-image-(1).jpgMedical travel insurance can provide great peace of mind for travelers of all types. Whether you are an adventure-seeking vacationer, an international student, or even have to travel for work, the hazards of the road (and seas and skies) can wreck havoc on even the safest travelers. However, getting the full benefit of any medical travel insurance requires a little extra effort on your part. The following list highlights six of the most common mistakes people make when selecting a medical travel insurance plan--and how you can avoid making them.

1. Thinking Your Primary Insurance Covers You

Unfortunately, most standard medical insurance plans are strictly domestic--in fact, it is not uncommon for provider networks to be limited to one state or even city. That means traveling--especially abroad--definitely puts you well outside of your normal insurer’s coverage area. Making it back home to receive the care you need very likely will not be covered by your standard plan, so medical travel insurance is definitely a worthwhile investment. Another important note: travel insurance is NOT the same as medical travel insurance. Buying travel insurance through an airline may cover cancellations and disruptions to your trip, but it provides no protection whatsoever for medical emergencies or air ambulance services.  

2. Pre-Existing Conditions

Travelers get exposed to all sorts of unusual diseases and injury risks; however, sometimes health problems crop up that aren’t the result of travel. The Affordable Care Act’s provisions don’t apply to this realm of medical insurance. That means, depending on the provider and plan, you may need additional coverage to ensure any pre-existing medical conditions will qualify. Whether you are managing a chronic illness or just have a history of a particular health problem, that may fall under the “pre-existing” category and be exempt from coverage, so double-check ahead of time, and select your coverage accordingly.  

3. Forgetting Prescription Drugs

Most of the time, taking your prescription medication with you is relatively straight-forward. However, there is no guarantee that you won’t run into trouble transporting drugs with you in your travels, or that you’ll be able to buy more locally should you run out of your supply. It pays to know in advance what the local laws are, as well as the pharmacy situation whatever your destination. You should also double-check what kind of prescription coverage your travel insurance offers, and whether it will help pay the local price to buy meds, or will deliver your prescription to you from a home pharmacy.  

4. Location-Specific Coverage

If you are going on an especially long trip, or to somewhere like Europe with many different cities and countries nearby, there is a good chance your plans will change to include multiple destinations. If you aren’t careful, you may end up with a medical travel insurance plan that only applies to your original destination, or won’t extend coverage when you fail to disclose a change of travel plans in advance. Updating your itinerary from the road or trying to get clearance before every new excursion can be a pain. To be safe, make sure your insurance plan makes allowances for multi-country trips, or doesn’t restrict coverage when there is even a slight chance you’ll be on the go while traveling.  

5. Emergency Transportation Services

Not every travel health insurance policy covers emergency medical evacuation. If you are going on an extended trip or working abroad, you may get a health insurance plan not unlike the one you have at home, which covers treatment at your destination, but not transportation. Should you require specialist care, or otherwise need an emergency ambulance service to get back home, you’ll need to make sure this is actually covered as part of your medical travel insurance. Some plans include ambulance or transportation services as a standard feature; others take a more a la carte approach, and you will have to personally elect to have this included with your plan.  

6. Counting On Someone Else to Cover You

This is especially common when your travel is for business purposes, but it can apply to anyone. Never assume that some third party--an employer, a travel companion, your destination host--has coverage for your emergency medical expenses. Liability in these cases can be tricky, and frankly, you’re better off having the insurance upfront than being able to sue for damages after the fact. Plan ahead, communicate, and determine for certain whether you must purchase your own insurance, or if someone else is taking care of it, exactly what plan they are buying. They could just as easily have missed any of the above steps on your behalf when choosing a medical travel insurance plan.

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How to Prepare When Traveling for Medical Treatment

Posted on Tue, Jun 13, 2017

Not all travels are for pleasure. Unfortunately, some travels are made for dire, life-threatening situations. One of these instances is traveling for medical treatment; something that has become a growing trend in America. In 2009, Health Magazine estimated six million Americans traveled abroad for surgeries and medical services on a yearly basis.

Whether you have decided to search abroad for medical treatment, or whether you need a lift to the nearest specialty hospital; there are certain steps you should take as a patient to guarantee a fluid and safe transition between hospitals. Air ambulance services are there to ensure you have a safe journey, but how can you prepare for the trip?

Medical_Treatment_2648.jpgGetting Your Papers in Order

Before you leave the state or your home, do your best to collect all the necessary documents you’ll need for your travels.

International medical travel If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll need to make sure you have more than just your passport. For starters, air ambulance services will require some upfront information about the patient and any of the patient’s accompanying passengers. Namely, first and last legal name, passport information, date of birth, nationality, and any Visa information.

For other internationally traveling medical patients, they may need to bring a comprehensive list of all their symptoms, recent tests, family history, and blood work: also known as your Health History Information Sheet (HHIS). This will help the doctor you are traveling to have a full understanding of your needs.

Local medical travel If you are traveling locally - within the states - to another hospital that can better serve you, bringing an HHIS can also be beneficial. With our current state of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) in the United States, not all hospitals are able to share patient information. Having a hard copy can help prevent that and save time.

Similarly, be sure to have copies of your medical insurance card, in case you need to check for coverage, and a signed copy of your prescribed prescriptions. Having a supply of your medication with you could also help in the case of the hospital not having it on hand, or issues with foreign medication. Be sure that you have more than a day’s supply of medicine, and consider having back up for after you arrive at the hospital.

Medical_Treatment_6716.jpgCover Your Bases

Getting from point A to point B is not always as simple as it seems. When considering transportation services, be sure to cover your bases. You’ll need more than transportation through the air, and checking the coverage of ground transportation is just as important. With AMR Air Ambulance, quotes for service cover both in the air and on the ground services, but not all organizations combine the two.

Make Arrangements for Family or Partner

Make arrangements with your air ambulance escort to allow room for your significant other, children, or travel partner. Most air ambulances have enough space to ensure the comfort of the patient and accessibility of the staff, but very little room is available for passengers or their luggage. Planning ahead will help prepare the service for an extra passenger on the flight.

Before you leave, you will need to make sure your travel partner has a comfortable place to stay while you’re in the hospital. Often times hospitals will partner with local charities or hotels to offer special rates and housing for those traveling with a patient. This is known as patient family housing; the Ronald McDonald house is an example. Call the hospital where you are staying to see if they suggest any local hotels or inns. If not, then look at the local listings for the most affordable and comfortable options for your travel partner.

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Your Top 5 Medical Travel Questions Answered

Posted on Thu, May 25, 2017

When you or your loved one needs immediate medical attention, life flighting the patient might be the best option available. Air ambulances can get someone in need the attention they so desperately need in a fraction of the time. However, you may have a few questions about how air ambulances work, who can accompany the patient, where you can travel and more. We are here to put your mind at ease and give you the quick answers you need about using a life flight air ambulance.

1. How Does a Medical Air Ambulance Work?

Travel_Questions_10837-(1).jpgThe process is quite simple for the family and patient involved. No matter what stage of the flight, the patient will always be attended to. The patient will be escorted from their hospital room, taken to the ambulance, transported, and securely delivered to their destination. The goal of the air ambulance is to give the patient and family peace of mind knowing that their loved one will be safe throughout the entirety of travel.

2. What Type of Medical Attention is Provided?

There may be a few different flight options available depending on the current status of the patient. Each medical professional is accredited and trained for ambulance accompaniment. Flights arranged by AMR Air Ambulance are staffed by an experienced registered flight nurse, respiratory therapist, licensed paramedic and/or other medical professionals, depending on the specific needs of the patient. Flight physicians are available when requested.

3. Will I Be Able To Fly Anywhere That I Need to Receive Care?

Travel_Questions_10499-(2).jpgAir Ambulances can travel anywhere in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, Middle East and the Pacific Rim. Take a look at our travel location listing to ensure that your destination is approved for travel. We do our absolute best to accommodate as many passengers as possible.

4. Can My Family Accompany Me on My Flight?

Often times, family members are allowed to ride with the patient to their destination. Just keep in mind that there is limited space on an air ambulance flight. Additional companions or luggage may not be permitted given the intimate quarters of the flight. The space within the aircraft is specifically designed to give maximum comfort to the patient in need. The patient is always a first priority before anything else.

5. What Payment Options Are Available?

AMR will discuss options with you and find the flight that is a perfect fit for your situation. Depending on the aircraft service chosen, some may simply provide transport to and from the location. AMR not only accounts for life flight, but also includes ground transport directly to the desired location. This cost is included in any estimate provided by AMR.

First, check with your insurance provider to ascertain whether or not air ambulance costs will be covered under your current plan. There may be a copay or deductible required before air ambulance services can be provided.

Any uncovered costs may be paid with major credit cards. AMR accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club. In addition, certified check, bank wire transfer, and cash are also options available. Our goal is to make the process as simple as possible for all those involved.

Choosing an air ambulance can be undoubtedly stressful for all those involved. So, in your time of need we want to make your decision is as quick and painless as possible. That is why AMR air ambulance representatives are ready to answer every question you might have about your flight.

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A Before and After Medical Checklist for Traveling Abroad

Posted on Thu, Apr 13, 2017

Every human being has a need for traveling. Exploring new cities and countries allows us to learn and develop, no matter what stage of our lives we are in. However, many individuals who are living with medical conditions feel that they are not capable of this necessary exploration. Yet, this myth is not at all true. We are all able to travel, despite medical conditions.

We have put together a medical checklist to make travel possible for those who are living with medical conditions.

Before Your Travels

Review Your Health Insurance Coverage

Before arranging your travel plans make sure your insurance coverage will meet the actual cost of your trip. Especially when traveling abroad, expenses can quickly add up and require payment up front. If your current coverage won’t be enough to take care of your trip consider looking into a short-term plan or supplemental plan to cover your medical expenses.

Gather Contact Information

Make sure you collect all of the necessary contact information for your trip. This should include the contact information of your primary physician, your insurance supplier, and any emergency contacts that you may need to call.

Plan Your Transportation

Medical_Checklist_508-(4).jpgYou should also arrange your transportation before you go. Research the area you are traveling to, in order to find the best way to get around. Many who travel with medical conditions should consider air ambulance service options.

Put Together an Itinerary

Much like any person traveling, you should have an itinerary put together before you go. List all of the places you plan on exploring, with dates and contact numbers included. You should provide a copy of this itinerary to a friend or loved one, so they will have an idea of where you are in case of a medical emergency.

Gather a Medical Kit

Medical_Checklist_410-(3).jpgBefore you leave, it is important to put together a medical kit. This will allow you to keep your prescriptions in order. It is suggested to bring enough to cover the days you will be gone, plus a few extras (in case there is any need for an extension of your vacation). Furthermore, this kit should include a standard first aid kit, in case of a minor emergency.

Update Your Vaccines

Speak with your physicians to find any necessary vaccinations that you may need to stay well during your travels. This generally only applies to international travel, but it is still a recommended step for any travelers.

After Your Travels

Schedule a Checkup

After returning from a vacation, you should schedule a checkup with your physician, even if you feel completely fine. Doing this will ensure that you did not contract any diseases that have been identified in the country or area you were visiting. As this is important for any traveler, it is especially important.

Announce Your Return

Once you have returned from your travels, you should let your friends and loved ones know you have returned safely.

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Chelsea Rush's Amazing Recovery

Posted on Tue, Feb 07, 2017

chelsea-of-the-sea-fw-(1).pngOn February 29th, 2016, Chelsea Rush was admitted to Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs, California with a severe spinal cord injury. She sustained the injury after being involved in a shocking ATC accident. Further investigation revealed that Chelsea received a fracture in her cervical 5 vertebrae, located in the neck. As a result, she is paralyzed from the chest down.

Chelsea encountered several complications after safely making it to the Desert Regional Hospital. Sadly, she developed several infections as well as a case of pneumonia, but was able to fight it off over the course of ten grueling days in the hospital.

Doctors watched her infections very closely and decided, after she had recovered, the best plan of action was to address the fracture in her spine. The surgical team was able to rebuild her C5 vertebrae and fuse the C4 and C6 vertebrae as well. Until this time she was unable to sit upright, but with the strength reintroduced into her neck from the surgery, she was able to sit more comfortably. In addition, they began to wean her off of her ventilator, allowing her to  slowly breathe on her own over time.

Six days later she was able to sit up for the first time in over two weeks with the help of the hospital’s physical therapy team. She was also able to do a majority of her breathing by herself and the fevers from her pneumonia and infections were broken.

An additional, six days later and Chelsea was removed from the intensive care unit. Her infection and sickness were completely under control and physical therapy could finally begin.

After a total of one month in the hospital she was able to begin breathing and eating on her own. Although, most of her muscle mass was lost during her stay at the hospital. Physical therapists struggled to rebuild her lost muscle mass and unfortunately the level of daily care Chelsea needed was hard to meet at this crucial time in her recovery. She was facing 6-7 hours of physical therapy each and every day.

Consequently, Chelsea’s family decided that the best plan of action was to move her to the most highly regarded spinal cord rehabilitation center in the country, Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado. However, Chelsea’s weakened state demanded that she remained bedridden. It would be impossible to move her by traditional means. She was accepted into the care of Craig Hospital and with the help of a personal life flight carrier, she safely made it to the location on April 11th, 2016.

For the next couple of months Chelsea powered through intense physical therapy that was tailored specifically for her recovery. Casts were voluntarily placed on her limbs in an attempt to un-freeze some of the weak muscles around her body. This was a very slow and painful process, but Chelsea was able to endure it and by June she was able to regain movement of her wrists and part of her arms.


At the time of the injury she was about 3 months pregnant with her son Wyatt. Her son remained healthy and unharmed during her months of recovery after arriving at the hospital. He was successfully delivered on August 18th, 2016 weighing in at 5 lbs, 3 oz.

At just 24 years of age, Chelsea sustained this unimaginable news, and yet she still remains hopeful. As of today, she has been discharged from Craig hospital and has regained much of the strength in her arms. She is now able to move herself in a custom wheelchair, specifically designed for her needs. 

Chelsea was able to attend her first physical therapy session outside of the hospital on September 18th, 2016. Every day she regains more of her strength with the help of her friends, family, and aftercare specialists.

The family started a fundraising campaign in order to pay for the costs to get Chelsea the care she so desperately needs. They were able to raise over $150,000 for Chelsea’s cause. Donations are still being accepted to anyone who wishes to help out Chelsea and her family. 

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