Firstly, let me say that I don't need this currently. I am safe and the NHS is my protector.
What happens if, for example, I am in Laos or Indonesia etc and I think I have just been bitten by a rabid bat. I seem to remember that World Nomad give you a phone number so, I guess I would have to get to a phone as quick as possible. Then what??!?
What happens if I am incapacitated, taken to a local hospital and, somehow, airlifted to Thailand. Will they have had to find my insurance to do this or just arrange it and leave me to foot the bill?!
I tried finding some information out using Google but gave up after trawling through 4 pages of insurance sales websites.
I hope I never have to find out but it seems crazy to just presume that, if anything did happen to me, "I've got my piece of paper with an insurance number on it - I'll be fine".
Anyone been through this or know of any good links? etc
Not having been air evac'd I thankfully answer this from experience, but it's my understanding it varies depending on the insurer.
We have two insurance policies, one is expat catastrophic coverage through Aetna that covers us while living in Indonesia, and when I travel outside of Indonesia, I use WorldNomads.
Expat insurance tends to be expensive (especially in Bali, as many expat insurers just won't cover here) but when we were doing our research we were told that you want a policy where the person who makes the money out of the air evac makes the decision. So in our case, in the case of a serious injury (say a motorbike accident) I'd want to be sent to SOS (a medical centre here in Bali), who also does the air evac.
It is my understanding on the reading of the policy, that if SOS say I go, I go and as they have a financial incentive to send me to Sg, I'd like to think they'll send me. Once the decision is made, I believe (not sure of this) that the hospital then liases with your insurer to check you have the correct coverage, and you're on the way.
In other cases the decision is made by the insurer. I've not heard of it ever being left to the patient to decide.
If you're uninsured and need air evac, it is cash up front - you'll need a decidedly large bag of kip.
I've belled World Nomads for their view on this.
Someone else has just said that the final decision always rests with the insurer... hmmm I have to go back and read my Aetna policy again - or stay away from bikes and rabid bats
As far as I know, things like rabid bats aren't a serious situation that you would be airlifted from (since you couldn't know for sure it had rabies). I think you just go to the nearest hospital, let your insurance know, then you pay for treatment and keep the receipts and get it refunded. This is because you'd need to get there within 24 hours but the insurance may not be able to sort everything out as quickly as that, although I may be wrong.
As with air lifting, a friend of mine damaged her knee skiing in New Zeland. She'd bought an around the world flight ticket and was due to go on to USA, but couldn't because of her knee. Her insurance company paid for a direct flight home from New Zeland and she had nothing to organise or pay except her excess.
I think it all depends on the type of policy you have and what it covers, as a lot of basic ones probably incur costs if you need to be air lifted, as if it is a serious injury you may need to be on a small private aircraft.
I think it's something you will have to talk to your insurance company about to know for sure what they offer, try sending them an email I'm sure they'll reply pretty quickly.
#5 Nixxypie has been a member since 27/4/2011. Posts: 55
Sorry forgot about this. Here's what WN said (it was via Twitter, hence the very short length):
"In the case of a serious injury who makes the decision re air evac? Patient/doctor/hospital/insurer? cc @worldnomads"
"It's the Emergency Assistance provider / Insurer in consultation with the local doctor / hospital."
For more info I'd suggest contacting them by email for a longer, more detailed answer.