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What is a medically reasonable patient repatriation?

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What is a medically reasonable patient repatriation?

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When planning their holiday, most forward-thinking people also take out travel insurance. This covers the medical cost of treatment if an accident occurs on holiday or if medical treatment is required at the local doctor's surgery or hospital. Theoretically, many travel insurance providers also cover the costs of medical repatriation to the UK.

In practice, however, the reality is often different. Travel insurance policies often incorporate clauses that the insurance company can invoke to reject a reimbursement of costs. The insurance often only covers a medically necessary, or in exceptional cases, medically reasonable patient repatriation or medical evacuation. In this article, we clarify when patient repatriation is medically reasonable or necessary.

Was ist ein medizinisch sinnvoller Krankenrücktransport?

Medically reasonable and medically necessary repatriation, what do travel insurances mean?

The commonly held view is that patient repatriation is necessary if treatment at a British hospital promises a better treatment outcome. Travel insurance companies, however, speak a different language: they distinguish between medically reasonable and necessary patient repatriation.

When is patient repatriation "reasonable" for most travel insurance companies?

Medically reasonable patient repatriation by air ambulance, in the language of the insurers, is when you can be treated in a foreign hospital, but the chances of success are much better in the UK. This definition also covers social reasons that arise when you want to be close to your family during extended hospital stays. Patient repatriation can also be reasonable if you can be treated abroad but further treatment in the UK is likely to be faster or more successful.

When is patient repatriation "necessary" for travel insurances?

In most cases, the travel insurance companies will only cover the cost of medically necessary patient repatriations. Medically necessary repatriation is when the medical repatriation is requested by a doctor. For example, if an important life-saving operation cannot be performed on you in the on-site hospital abroad, a transfer to another hospital is medically necessary. In this case, the costs would be assumed by the travel insurance provider or overseas health insurance company. Moreover, by consulting with us, our own health flight doctors decide on your fitness to travel and can overrule your local hospital doctor's decision in case of a different opinion. 

Medical repatriation or Medical Evacuation without reimbursement of costs by travel insurances

It is often a heavy blow for patients if the travel insurance company refuses to cover the medical evacuation or repatriation costs. After all, the travel insurance policy and medical coverage were taken out for this eventuality in the first place. Medical Repatriation UK flies you to your desired hospital quickly and unbureaucratically, even if you do not have insurance.

Our emergency assistance services include:

  • communication with the attending doctors
  • communication with the authorities
  • organisation of the return flight and ensuring adequate medical equipment on board
  • organisation of the necessary ground transports
  • deployment of medical personnel to accompany you on the flight
  • carrying out the ambulance flight itself

Depending on the urgency of the case and our doctor's recommendation, you are flown either by ambulance helicopterair ambulance or scheduled airliner. A helicopter can be ready to fly very quickly in a time-critical emergency but can only be used on short-haul routes. 

The most frequently used aircraft for patient repatriations is the ambulance aircraft. It can fly you safely over long distances from almost anywhere abroad to the desired target hospital. Our ambulance aircraft can be deployed very quickly, even on the same day if needed.

Patients with less serious injuries can often also be flown in a separate area on a scheduled airliner or, for short distances, can be transported by ground ambulance.

When you call our emergency number, you will be advised personally by our experienced repatriation team. If you decide to go ahead with the medical repatriation, we will immediately start organizing the details in the background while discussing with you which means of transport is the best choice for you. Each flight is accompanied by medical professionals and medical teams who can intervene immediately in the event of an emergency.

Any further questions?

You will find more detailed information about our medically accompanied repatriations in our FAQ, be it for you or a family member.

Contact us now about your medical repatriation

Our 24-hour service is at your disposal every day, even on weekends and bank holidays even in times of covid-19. We will gladly advise you based on your condition and, if desired, we can provide you with a free and non-binding quotation tailored to your circumstances no matter your medical insurance policies. 

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