The goal of medical evacuation is to save a patient’s life and/or limit the extent of an injury. If the patient’s condition is stable and not at risk from flying, insurance companies will fly him to the nearest adequate medical facility. For example, if he is in Cambodia they would fly him to Bangkok, if in West Africa, to France. Once stabilized, if needed, they will fly him to his home country.
International health insurance companies provide insurance coverage for people all over the world. No insurance company is large enough to have their own fleet of planes available in every country. Instead, they have contact with medical evacuation companies and planes worldwide and can quickly sub-contract a plane for a medical evacuation.
Many international insurance companies have divisions within their company that handle medical evacuation 24/7 for clients. One company GNI works with has 10 nurses and 1 Medical Officer (doctor) in their medical evacuation division.
Depending on the physical location of the patient medical evacuation can happen quickly, often within 2 to 3 hours. Here is the general procedure:
- The insurance company is contacted concerning a needed medical evacuation.
- The Medical Evacuation Division in the company makes a quick and complete evaluation of the illness or injury. This is generally done in consultation with a physician that works with the insurance company and medical personnel that are on the ground stabilizing the patient.
- Evaluation of the physical/geographic location of the patient, e.g., nearest airport and nearest adequate medical facilities, is considered.
- The patient is evacuated to the nearest adequate medical facility, and if necessary, once stabilized, evacuated back to his or her home country.
- If the medical condition is not overly serious, they will use a common carrier for the evacuation, often sending along medical personnel to assist the patient in flight. If very serious, they will charter a plan from a medical evacuation company in the region.
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The information and advice on this website was deemed accurate when it was originally published. GNI cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any actions taken on the basis of the information provided, unless that information is subsequently confirmed in writing. For the latest up-to-date information please call us or check brochures and other published materials for latest revision/date.