How not to get stuck in a hospital far from home

Editor’s Note: Medjet is the premier air medical transport and travel security membership program for travelers. Medjet protects individuals, families and organizations and has been recommended by hundreds of top travel experts and travel publications. Reduced annual MedjetAssist membership rates are available as a courtesy through The Cincinnati Insurance Companies – learn more and enroll in advance of travel by accessing your MyCincinnati mobile app, selecting Service Providers then Medical Evacuation. Or, speak to your local independent agent representing The Cincinnati Insurance Company.


MedjetAssist provides medical transport to travelers hospitalized more than 150 miles from home. (Photo Courtesy Medjet)

You know how important it is to be treated by physicians you trust in a facility you choose. Yet many people, when faced with an accident or illness while traveling, find themselves stuck in a hospital far from home – at the mercy of health or travel insurance companies in determining the “acceptability” of a facility and the “medical necessity” of a transfer home.

More than 10 million travelers are hospitalized each year. Understanding what protection you have and what you may need for yourself and your family is vital. Being unable to get to a home hospital of choice for treatment could present a myriad of issues:

  • Care that is unacceptable to you or facilities that don’t meet your standards;
  • Language barriers, if your hospitalization occurs during foreign travel, making treatment decisions difficult;
  • Dollar caps on travel insurance medical benefits if hospitalized abroad; unrealistic dollar caps can cause coverage to disappear and force out-of-pocket payments, financial risk and claim forms – or the perhaps uncomfortable option of staying where you happen to be hospitalized;
  • Costs for family members to fly to your side to serve as your patient advocate and provide moral support; airfare, hotels and missed work can add to your financial burden;
  • A $30,000 (domestic) to $180,000 (international) medical transport to a home country hospital you prefer for treatment and recovery – an expense your health or travel insurance company may not cover that could take a bite out of your savings.

Access Medjet through the MyCincinnati phone app or at

This is where protection for air medical transport through a Medjet membership becomes viable.

If you travel frequently – alone for business or on vacations with your family – it is important to understand what your health and travel insurance coverage does and does not insure when it comes to returning home for medical care.

Travel Insurance in its basic form usually provides trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage, local hospital and treatment cost reimbursement, and limited medical evacuation benefits to the nearest acceptable facility if facing a life-threatening illness or injury. “Acceptable” is determined by the insurance company, not the patient. While medical evacuation is a lifesaving benefit, it may not get you all the way back home, to a hospital of your choice and doctors you know. Travel insurance typically responds only when the insured recovers well enough to return home on a commercial flight.

Platinum Credit Card Travel Benefits only (sometimes) cover injury or illness that occur while you are aboard a common carrier, and coverage ends when you disembark from a plane. Far too many people mistakenly believe they have medical coverage during their entire trip and may not recognize many exclusions, including transport dollar caps and subrogation.

Health Insurance, for domestic travel coverage outside of your local network, typically covers emergency services and hospital and treatment costs, but not medical transport at the discretion of the insured.

People don’t think too much about getting “stuck” in a hospital in another city within the United States, but this can cause some of the same financial and emotional stresses as getting stuck overseas. It can be especially hard for families with children in school, where a spouse may have to choose between being bedside or remaining at home with the kids.

MedjetAssist air medical transport membership is a (surprisingly affordable) program that you join prior to traveling. As a member, if you are hospitalized more than 150 miles from your primary home address, domestically or internationally, stable for flight, and in need of continued inpatient care – air medical transport is arranged and paid for on your behalf to get you back to a hospital of your choice within your home country, regardless of medical necessity. You decide where you want to receive the remainder of your care, not an insurance company. If Medjet arranges medical transport, you will have no claim forms, deductibles, co-payments or out-of-pocket expenses; you pay only the membership fee in advance of travel and that’s it.

MedjetHorizon membership adds protection for travel security and crisis response to the core MedjetAssist membership program. Access to a 24/7 crisis response support for travel safety threats such as violent crime, disappearance, natural disaster or terrorism can provide extreme peace of mind, especially if you travel alone or perhaps are sending children overseas to study.

This article provided by John Gobbels, vice president and chief operating officer of Medjet. He has more than 23 years of pre-hospital, hospital and management experience, including experience with a renowned air ambulance service. He holds a master’s degree in management and information technology as well as multiple degrees in health care.


The selection of a particular service provider is the independent choice of the policyholder. Service providers are not affiliated with The Cincinnati Insurance Companies. Cincinnati and its employees make no warranties and assume no liability for services, products or loss control measures provided by service providers.

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