Healthcare

Do You Need a Medical Evacuation Plan?

Medical Patient Being Evacuated Home

When planning a vacation or extended visit to Mexico, most people focus on the beaches, resort hotels, or the cities offering lifestyle options that attract them. Considering what happens in the event of a health emergency or serious accident, preparing for the unexpected doesn’t tend to feature in most people’s planning.

Most visitors to Mexico purchase insurance that will provide care in the event of an injury or illness while they are away from home. Some travelers assume that their employer’s health insurance will cover them while they are away; it might, but typically it doesn’t. Long-term foreign residents might assume that they can return to the USA if they have a serious illness where they will be covered by Medicare; some mistakenly think that Medicare will treat them here.

As we mentioned in a related article, the realities for visitors dealing with serious medical emergencies in Mexico are often more complicated than they appear, and in some circumstances having a medical evacuation strategy is a sensible precaution.

At first sight, paying for being evacuated doesn’t seem necessary: if you’re on vacation, your travel health insurance or premium credit card will cover you; and if you’re here for an extended period, you’ll probably get health care in Mexico. So why pay for a medical evacuation plan?

Becoming seriously ill in another country is not an easy experience. You are not at your best. You may be confused and nervous, you may not speak the language, and you may have to go through procedures that are very different from the ones you’re used to. Many foreigners who visit Mexico don’t speak Spanish well and even those that do, probably aren’t very familiar with medical terminology.

An aspect of medical care in Mexico that many people forget is that even when you’re covered by a travel medical insurance policy, it often pays only on a reimbursement basis, and it doesn’t usually pay to get you back home to your doctor and your local hospital in the event of a serious medical emergency. Most of these kinds of policies cite treatment coverage at the “nearest adequate facility” – with the term ‘adequate’ as defined by the insurer – and this facility may still be in Mexico or possibly a hospital at the closest port of your entry to the country.

Serious accidents and major health issues are high-stress situations even without the added complications of being abroad. In these circumstances, most people want the comfort of being back “home” where they know how things work, speak the language, and can be supported by a doctor and a hospital that’s familiar. Most importantly in serious circumstances, being at home puts you within easy reach of your friends and family, making it easier for them to support you through the recovery period.

Medical air evacuation is a logistically-complex and expensive service; it goes far beyond the provision of a private aircraft.  Commercial flights are usually off-limits to people who are seriously unwell, so if you don’t have an evacuation plan, and you don’t have around US$40,000 out-of-pocket to pay upfront for the evacuation, you’d have no choice but to be treated in Mexico—which could include an extended stay while you convalesce.

While Mexico is a safe place and a wonderful destination for both tourists and foreign residents, life situations are unpredictable, and serious accidents and illnesses can happen; in that event, you might simply want to go home to recuperate—and a medical evacuation plan will facilitate that.  Our associate, Travel MedEvac, offers air medical evacuation plans for visitors as well as foreign residents living in Mexico; plans last from two days to five years and carry no deductibles.

For more detailed information, you can learn more on our extensive guide to Medical Evacuation from Mexico—which describes what a medical evacuation service is, who needs it, and how to arrange a suitable plan for your needs.

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