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Medical transfers from abroad: reasonable or necessary?

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Medical transfers from abroad: reasonable or necessary?

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When clarifying the acceptance of costs by the responsible insurance company in advance of the medical repatriation, patients and relatives are often confronted with the question of whether the repatriation is medically reasonable or necessary. This is not just an important question from the medical point of view, the answer to this question is also essential for carrying out the medical repatriation itself and for the possibility of reimbursement by the insurance company. The decision on the acceptance of costs usually depends on the exact wording of the contract or insurance policy that the patient is bound by.

Auslandsrückholungen: Sinnvoll oder notwendig?

No medical repatriation under statutory health insurance

Firstly, it should be made clear that anyone travelling abroad should think about more extensive travel insurance cover so that they do not have to bear the costs if the worst happens and a repatriation flight is needed. The statutory health insurance companies in Britain do not cover medical repatriations from abroad.

Numerous insurance companies have additional travel insurance policies in their portfolios for such cases, that you can put together according to your individual needs. This is why it is recommended that before concluding contracts with your insurance provider, you should check the scope of service and under what conditions your new insurance cover applies.

Keep your eyes open when signing the contract: reasonable vs necessary

One important clause would be whether medical repatriation from abroad is only carried out or covered by the insurance company in medically necessary cases, or whether the insurance cover also comes into effect for medically reasonable repatriations.

A medical repatriation is considered to be medically necessary if, in the country you are staying in, a comparable standard of medical treatment to that of the home country cannot be guaranteed. However, this is no longer the case in most countries. First aid, or initial treatment, for many illnesses and injuries is possible on site. This means that most medical repatriations are no longer urgently necessary.

In many cases, however, a medical repatriation can still make sense, for example, if further treatment or an operation in the patient's home country will probably lead to a better outcome. The social indications of a repatriation should also be considered; social contacts, a familiar environment, family and, of course, the lack of language barriers in the home country, are all arguments for undertaking a repatriation.

Your insurance company will not cover the costs?

If your insurance company refuses to cover the cost of the medical repatriation, or the processing of your claim is taking too long, you can also ask us to carry out your medical repatriation as a private service. Medical Repatriation UK can organise your repatriation at any time by air ambulance, scheduled airliner, helicopter or ground ambulance, even at very short notice on the same day or the next day.

It also does not matter to us whether your medical repatriation is reasonable or necessary from an insurer's point of view. We are always at your side to implement your project professionally and competently. Our teams are ready to help for a free, non-binding consultation at any time. We are happy to assist you even if you have insurance, but the insurer refuses to accept the fees. We can offer you advice on how to interact with your insurance provider, and we'd be pleased to take your call. 

We are available to assist you every day, around the clock.

Any further questions?

We have put together further information for you about our worldwide medical repatriations in our FAQ.

Contact us now about your medical repatriation

If you require a medical repatriation we are happy to advise you in dealing with your insurance company. Even if an acceptance of costs has already been rejected we are always at your disposal. Please contact our 24-hour service:

  • By telephone: +44 (0) 20 3608 0483
  • By email:

Via our contact form