Difference between Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

Posted on October 19, 2017

As more people travel around the world seeking jobs, visiting family and friends or on vacations, the need for medical repatriation services often becomes indispensable. Many who fall sick overseas or meet an unfortunate accident abroad discover that hospitals in foreign countries, many times, are unable to provide the first-world medical facilities. In times like these, emergency medical evacuation services can become the difference between life and death.

Generally, when a patient requires emergency medical services, the first priority of an air medical transport provider is to get them the critical medical care they need as soon as possible. For those who travel frequently, medical evacuation and medical repatriation services can prove to be handy. Used during emergency, medevac and medical repatriation services allow people who are injured while traveling to receive specialized care due to a medical condition, which they are unable to receive at a local hospital or a nearby medical facility.


What are Emergency Medical Evacuation and Medical Repatriation Services?

Medevac or emergency medical evacuation services are often required when an individual suffers a life-threatening emergency and needs to be moved to a medical facility immediately. When evacuation becomes a necessity, it may occur either by air or ground transportation. In some cases, if the current medical facility is unable to provide the required medical treatment and care, then medical evacuation will occur under the recommendation of the attending physician.

Medical repatriation services, on the other hand, are essentially linked to healthcare due to the costs associated with providing emergency medical treatment to travelers or to return them back to their native country for medical treatment after evacuation. When patients suffers from critical injuries or illness outside of their native country, they become entitled to medical repatriation services. Often the hospitalized patient cannot be moved to their home country by ground transportation. In such cases, patients are generally transported using a fixed-wing aircraft with a specialized flight medical team.

Another term frequently used is ‘Repatriation of Remains’. This is not to be confused with the emergency medical repatriation services as the term repatriation of remains refers to the transportation of the bodily (mortal) remains of the individuals to their principal residence. Meaning that in case of an unfortunate death of an insured patient, their body transported back to their family in their native country. Typically insurance plans cover this type of transportation, by both ground and air.


Understanding the need for Emergency Evacuation and Medical Repatriation Services

The major difference between an emergency medical evacuation and medical repatriation services is that while the medevac services are carried out in cases of a medical emergency when treatment is not readily available at the nearest facility, the medical repatriation services offer patients the necessary medical evacuation services alongside the freedom to get treated in their home country in a familiar environment. Another thing to keep in mind is that both, the medevac and medical repatriation services, involve the necessary evacuation of the injured or ill individual to a medical facility or their primary residence on a medically equipped flight.

Typically, insurance companies offer coverage plans for emergency medical services which cover the medical care a patient required during transportation including life support or oxygen while some might include bedside to bedside transportation services within a specific number of miles by a certain kind of aircraft. Most insurance companies have stringent requirements regarding the conditions necessary to qualify for medical repatriation services cost reimbursement and will only cover the air ambulance cost if they are subject to the definitions of the situations deemed “medically necessary”.


Emergency Evacuation and Medical Repatriation Services Coverage

When planning for emergency medical evacuation or medical repatriation services, it is always preferable to first check with a comprehensive health care insurer to see if your air transportation flight qualifies with their policy and double-check with your agent regarding the coverage they provide regarding specific circumstances. Because air ambulance cost is generally a hefty amount, it is also wise to compare quotes before deciding on a health coverage policy.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the crippling financial burden of air ambulance cost is by signing up for AirMed’s Membership Plans which offer premier access to ultimate emergency medical services and medical repatriation services 24/7/365. Our wide array of exclusive membership plans have been tailored specifically for your needs. They not only save you from the insurance hassle but also cover various factors and timelines for individuals as well as family members.

We are a fully accredited air medical transport service that offers well-equipped medical repatriation aircrafts. Our specialized team of licensed physicians, nurses and paramedics offer multiple levels of in-flight medical care. So, no matter which plan you decide on choosing, with AirMed you can be sure of receiving worldwide emergency medical services and medical repatriation services with threat assessment and 24/7 logistics center consultation without any additional cost.