The cost of medical repatriation can be a few thousand euros. And no one is safe from an unforeseen event requiring such an operation.
But, what is this procedure exactly? Is it covered by your insurance? What are the best options out there?
In this article, you will find the answer to all these questions.
What Is Medical Repatriation?
Medical Repatriation: Meaning
This procedure consists in relocating an injured or sick patient to another country.
It’s performed when the patient can’t receive the necessary care on-site due to a lack of local infrastructure. Or due to the seriousness of his/her condition.
In the unfortunate case of death, it may also involve the repatriation of a body.
Because of its complexity and cost, it is only considered when it is justified. Often, evacuation to another location or a neighboring country with better health facilities is sufficient to provide satisfactory care for the patient.
The Different Categories of Medical Repatriation
International medical repatriation is often thought of as being done by medical plane. But this option is reserved for the most critical cases.
The normal procedure consists of taking care of the patient from the place of evacuation to his/her home country.
In less serious cases, the repatriation can take place on a regular flight, accompanied (or not) by health personnel and medical equipment.
It can also take place by any other means of transportation, such as the train.
How Much Does Medical Repatriation Cost Without Insurance?
Prices Vary Depending on the Situation
Medical repatriation costs vary according to the country, the means of transport used, and the level of medical treatment.
If the return is by a scheduled flight, you will only have to pay the cost of the ticket.
However, the rates increase as more equipment and personnel are required. They include, depending on the severity of the operation:
- Transport by ambulance from the place of pick-up to the airport of departure. And from the airport of arrival to the final place of the treatment of the patient
- Medication and medical equipment used (wheelchair, stretcher, infusions, respiratory assistance, etc.)
- Payment to doctors and nurses.
If you are wondering how much does medical repatriation cost without insurance in a specially chartered plane, the answer is around 40,000 euros!
As for the repatriation of a body, it is necessary to count between 1000 and 5000 euros. It includes the preparation of the body, the coffin, and the transport to the place of burial.
Additional Costs Not to Be Neglected
The cost of medical repatriation does not only include the transportation of the patient, the accompanying personnel, and the medical equipment.
It is also necessary to add the costs related to administrative procedures. And the relocation of the patient’s personal belongings, hospitalization costs before repatriation, and possible search costs in case of an accident.
If the person to be repatriated is accompanied by his or her family, the transportation and accommodation cost for them must be added. Also, the cost of an accompaniment for minors who find themselves alone abroad when a parent is repatriated.
These airline tickets will be bought in a hurry and at the last minute, and therefore often charged at full price.
Medical Repatriation Costs Have to Be Paid by the Patients if They Have No Insurance
Without insurance, the repatriated patient pays for the entire operation out of his pocket. And manages most of the administrative procedures related to repatriation.
As we have seen, these expenses and procedures are important. And above all, they must be initiated in a hurry.
Your country’s Social Security system may cover a portion of the costs. But this reimbursement is not guaranteed. And, in any case, the entire amount must be paid in advance.
If a patient is not able to finance his repatriation, he can apply to his Consulate.
This financing is not a right but an exceptional graceful measure, which can only be applied if no relative of the patient can pay for the repatriation.
It also remains conditional on the budget available at that moment at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
It is therefore an aid that cannot be counted on.
Choosing the Right Insurance for Medical Repatriation
An International Medical Repatriation Plan Is More Than Financial Assistance
Now you fully understand what is medical repatriation, you know that is far from being superfluous.
And it is important to make the right choice! It is the best way to avoid having to assume the entire cost of repatriation because you are not insured.
Such a contract can be taken out as a separate product, or as an option to another insurance contract.
As we have seen, it is above all a financial guarantee that will allow the patient and his relatives not to have to assume or advance the entire cost of the repatriation.
But it is also administrative assistance because the insurer takes in hand the numerous steps necessary for the good progress of the operations.
When abroad and in emergencies, these steps can quickly become a nightmare and slow down the repatriation. Especially if you don’t speak the local language well, or if you have to manage your repatriation yourself because you are traveling alone!
Check the Insurance Already Subscribed
It may be interesting to check that your home insurance or the one linked to your bank card does not already cover this repatriation assistance.
However, these contracts often have insufficient ceilings to fully cover medical repatriation, meaning that they are almost useless.
There are a lot of restrictive conditions that have to be respected, or you won’t be covered. And it’s crucial to verify if the service applies to the entire duration of your stay abroad.
This type of solution is generally only possible for short stays abroad. And, in this case, taking out additional insurance that includes repatriation assistance may be more advantageous.
For an expatriation, however, it is essential to take out specific insurance.
International Insurers Are the Best Choice for Medical Repatriation
It is important to turn to a recognized company specializing in international health and repatriation insurance.
They are usually prepared to manage and set up the necessary logistics for emergency repatriation.
It is recommended to turn first to companies from your home country. It’s a guarantee of seriousness and security.
All the procedures and the management of the contract will be done in your language.
In addition, it will be governed by your country’s insurance laws. This will give you better protection against all forms of abuse.
It is essential to make sure that advisors are available 24/7, by chat or by phone. And that they can quickly respond to any request for medical repatriation.
You should also check the list of countries covered by the company, as some countries may be excluded from their coverage.
Many offers exist on the market, and to make the right choice, the easiest way is to turn to an online comparator.
It will allow you to quickly and easily obtain the most suitable offers for each person, with details of the services covered and the corresponding quotes.
FAQ on Medical Repatriation
Medical repatriation is the repatriation of a patient who is ill or injured abroad and who cannot receive the necessary care locally. Due to a lack of local infrastructure or the seriousness of his/her condition.
In the case of death, it may also involve the repatriation of the body.
Because of its complexity and cost, it is only considered when it is truly justified. Often, an evacuation to another location is sufficient to provide satisfactory care for the patient.
The exact cost depends on the specific conditions: country of departure and destination, patient’s condition, etc.
But it is important to keep in mind that without insurance, all costs are to be paid by the patient or his family. Sometimes, it can be several thousand euros!