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Do you belong to a medical evacuation program?

When Alan and I cruised above the Arctic Circle on Voyager, a Regent Seven Seas ship, a trip to the polar ice pack was one of the journey’s highlights. As the midnight sun blazed late into the evening, the lounges teemed with passengers in a festive mood waiting for one of those “lifetime experiences.” But, before we could glimpse ice chunks floating in the sea, one of the passengers experienced a serious medical emergency that required immediate attention. Captain Dag turned the ship around and sailed as quickly as possible to meet the evacuation helicopter. The air rescue became the event to watch rather than scenes from the polar ice pack. The patient was safely air lifted to Longyearbyen and then flown to Tromsoe, Norway. As far as I know, the outcome was positive and the patient eventually flew home. But, who paid for all of that?

Hopefully, the passenger had purchased travel insurance. But, do you know that most policies will only pay for your evacuation to the first medical facility that can be reached? Then, it’s up to you and your wallet to fund your transportation to a better facility or home.

What’ a cautious baby boomer traveler to do? Alan and I buy yearly medical evacuation coverage through MedjetAssist. As long as we’re 150 miles from home, MedjetAssist will fly us in a specially equipped aircraft, complete with medical team, to the hospital of our choice. The fee covers air medical transportation, both domestic and international, for a year. Do you belong to AARP? Then you get a discount. And, I like their blog for its informative travel advice.

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