Is Medevac Covered by Health Insurance? Understanding Your Options

Medevac, short for medical evacuation, is a form of transportation used to move patients who require immediate medical attention. You may have heard of this term before, especially if you or someone you know has been in a medical emergency while on vacation abroad. However, what you may not know is whether or not your health insurance covers this expense. This is an important factor to consider, as the cost of a medevac can be extremely high and can leave you with a hefty bill to pay if you’re not properly covered.

If you’re planning a trip abroad anytime soon, it’s crucial that you understand the details of your health insurance policy when it comes to medevac coverage. Many people assume that if they have health insurance, they are automatically covered for any medical expense they may incur while traveling. However, this is not always the case. In fact, most insurance providers have specific terms and conditions when it comes to medevac coverage, and it’s up to you to understand what those are before you board your flight.

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about medevac coverage. We’ll take a deep dive into what medevac is, how much it costs, and what your health insurance policy may cover (or not cover) in the event of a medical emergency abroad. By the time you finish reading, you’ll have a better understanding of whether or not you need an additional insurance policy to cover potential medevac expenses, and how to ensure you’re properly protected while traveling.

What is Medevac?

Medevac, short for medical evacuation, is the transport of a patient, who is either ill or injured, to a medical facility that is better equipped to provide the necessary care. Medevac becomes necessary when the treatment required to manage the patient’s condition is not available at the current location, or the time and effort to relocate the patient using regional or commercial flights would be detrimental to the patient’s health. This transportation service is usually carried out by dedicated companies that specialize in medical transportation via air, ground or water.

In most cases, medevac is initiated by an attending physician, hospital administrator, or emergency response team, and is coordinated with the assistance of trained medical professionals.

Types of Medevac

Medevac, short for medical evacuation, refers to the transportation of a critically ill or injured individual to a medical facility capable of providing the necessary treatment. Medevacs can come in different types, including:

  • Ground ambulance: This is the most common form of medevac, which involves transporting the patient via land-based vehicles such as ambulances.
  • Air ambulance: This type of medevac involves transporting the patient via aircraft, whether helicopter or fixed-wing plane.
  • Maritime transport: In cases where the patient is located near the coast or in a water-based vessel, a maritime transport medevac may be necessary.

Cost of Medevac

Medevac can be expensive, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the type and distance of transport. That is why having travel insurance that covers medevac is important, as it can save you from potentially crippling medical bills.

Medevac Coverage by Health Insurance

Medevac coverage varies depending on the insurance provider and policy. Some health insurance plans may include medevac coverage, but it is important to check the policy details carefully. Many health insurance providers also offer optional medevac coverage as an add-on to the standard coverage.

Health Insurance Provider Medevac Coverage Details
Blue Cross Blue Shield Offers medevac coverage as an optional add-on in some policies.
Aetna International Offers medevac coverage as a standard feature in some policies.
Cigna Offers medevac coverage as an optional add-on in some policies.

It is highly recommended to contact your insurance provider or agent to inquire about the specifics of your policy’s medevac coverage. Additionally, make sure to understand the limitations and restrictions of the coverage, such as location and type of medevac, as well as any deductibles or co-payments.

Importance of Medevac Coverage

When it comes to travel insurance, many people tend to focus mainly on trip cancellation, baggage loss, and medical expenses. However, quite often, travellers do not consider what would happen if they were to face a medical emergency that required evacuation from their destination to their home country or to the nearest medical facility capable of treating their condition. This is where Medevac coverage comes into play. Medevac coverage ensures that you will be transported back home or to the nearest medical facility that can treat your emergency, without incurring significant out-of-pocket expenses. Here is why it is essential to consider Medevac coverage when purchasing travel insurance:

  • Medevac expenses can be astronomical: In case of a medical emergency that requires evacuation, the cost of medical transport can easily run into thousands of dollars per hour. Having Medevac coverage ensures that you will not have to worry about hefty bills if the worst-case scenario occurs.
  • Medical facilities may not be up to your standards: In case of a medical emergency abroad, the nearest medical facility may not have the equipment or expertise to treat your condition adequately. Medevac coverage ensures that you are transported to a hospital that can provide the required care to ensure a speedy recovery.
  • Peace of mind: Travelling is inherently stressful, and adding the possibility of a medical emergency makes it even worse. Having Medevac coverage means that you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of an emergency and can focus on getting the care you need.

Factors to consider when selecting Medevac coverage

When selecting Medevac coverage, it is essential to understand what is covered and what is excluded. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Geographical limits: Some Medevac policies may be limited to specific geographic areas. If you are planning a trip to a remote location or a region with limited medical facilities, make sure the policy covers medical evacuations from your destination.
  • Medical eligibility: Not all medical emergencies qualify for medical evacuation. Make sure the policy specifies what medical conditions qualify for Medevac coverage.
  • Cost: Medevac coverage can add a significant amount to your travel insurance premium, so it is essential to consider your budget when selecting a policy.


Medevac coverage is an essential aspect of travel insurance that can help you avoid significant financial burdens in the event of a medical emergency abroad. It can provide peace of mind, ensuring that you get the proper medical care without financial stress. Make sure to carefully evaluate your needs and find the policy that suits you best.

Positive: Negative:
Provides peace of mind. Can add significantly to travel insurance premium.
Covers expensive medical transport. Not all medical emergencies qualify for coverage.
Ensures transport to adequate medical facilities. Coverage may be limited to specific geographic areas.

How does medevac coverage work?

Medevac coverage is a type of insurance that covers emergency medical evacuation in case of a serious illness or injury that requires immediate transportation. It is designed to address the expenses associated with high-level medical transportation in case of emergency situations. The insurance policy covers the cost of airlifting the patient from the scene of the emergency to the hospital. This can be especially relevant when a medical condition or injury occurs in a remote location that limits the patient’s ability to reach a hospital quickly. If adequately insured, this type of coverage can also be useful for frequent travelers

  • A medevac policy mainly covers emergency transportation in a helicopter or an airplane. The coverage also typically includes ground transport from the medical center to the hospital.
  • Some of the expenses that medevac insurance covers include medical staff’s fees and specialized equipment required for the transport of the patient during the evacuation.
  • Another advantage of having medevac insurance is that the transport company will ensure that the patient is transported to the most suitable hospital according to the severity of the injury or medical condition.

It is important to note that medevac coverage operates differently than traditional health insurance plans. The policy does not cover the cost of medical treatments received at the hospital. Instead, it deals with the expense of transportation to receive the treatment required. It is why it is often bundled with travel insurance or international medical coverage.

A typical example of when medevac coverage comes in handy is when vacationing in an underdeveloped region or engaging in high-risk activities such as mountaineering, skiing, or diving. Even if you have lived without a medical history, it is important to consider obtaining medevac coverage before embarking on such adventures.

To get the most out of your medevac coverage, it would be essential to read through the policy to understand what is covered and the limitations and restrictions in place. It could also be useful to determine the best medevac service providers in the region you will be visiting for more insurance options.

Advantages Disadvantages
Transport to the right medical facility Exclusions and limitations as to what is covered
Covers emergency transportation in hard-to-reach locations May require additional policy or bundling coverage
Avoids significant out-of-pocket expenses associated with emergency transportation May be expensive for the coverage offered

Overall, medevac coverage is an important consideration for anyone planning to engage in adventure activities or people traveling to developing countries. It provides peace of mind knowing that, if faced with a medical emergency, medically necessary transportation would be covered to the highest standards. In case of emergency situations, having medevac insurance can mean the difference between prompt, adequate care and suffering from inadequate care or crippling financial burdens.

Medevac coverage in different health insurance plans

Medevac, short for medical evacuation, is a service that provides transportation to a medical facility for emergency medical treatment when a person is too sick or injured to travel by commercial means. This service is often necessary for individuals traveling to remote areas or engaging in high-risk activities, such as adventure sports or high-sea fishing.

Medevac coverage varies among different health insurance plans. Some plans include medevac coverage as a standard benefit, while others offer it as an optional add-on.

  • International health insurance plans: These plans typically provide comprehensive medevac coverage for emergency situations. They often cover the expenses associated with transportation to the nearest medical facility with adequate care, including air ambulance services.
  • Domestic health insurance plans: In the United States, most health insurance plans do not cover medevac services, even in emergency situations. However, some plans may cover the cost of transportation if deemed medically necessary by the attending physician.
  • Travel insurance plans: Travel insurance plans often include medevac coverage as an optional add-on. This coverage is designed to provide emergency medical transportation in case of an accident or illness while traveling outside of your home country.
  • Employer-sponsored health insurance plans: Medevac coverage varies among different employer-sponsored health insurance plans. Some provide comprehensive coverage for medical transport, while others may offer a limited benefit amount or require a separate add-on for coverage. It’s important to review the plan details carefully to understand the extent of medevac coverage included.
  • Medicare: While Medicare may cover medically necessary ambulance transportation, it does not currently cover medevac services. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer limited coverage for emergency transport.

It’s important to note that even if your health insurance plan includes medevac coverage, there may be limitations or exclusions that apply. For instance, coverage may be limited to a certain geographic area or excluded for high-risk activities. Additionally, some services may require prior authorization from the insurance provider before coverage is approved.

Health insurance plan Medevac coverage
International health insurance plans Generally comprehensive coverage for emergency medical transport
Domestic health insurance plans May cover transportation if deemed medically necessary by attending physician
Travel insurance plans Optional add-on coverage for emergency medical transport while traveling outside of home country
Employer-sponsored health insurance plans Coverage varies among different plans; may include limited coverage or require separate add-on for coverage
Medicare Currently does not cover medevac services, some Medicare Advantage plans may offer limited coverage for emergency transport

Overall, it’s important to review your health insurance plan to understand what medevac coverage, if any, is included. If you are planning to engage in high-risk activities or travel to remote areas, consider purchasing additional coverage through a travel insurance plan or other supplemental insurance.

Limitations and exclusions of medevac coverage

While medevac coverage is a vital aspect of travel insurance, it’s essential to note that it has limitations and exclusions that can impact your coverage. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Location: Medevac coverage may be limited or excluded in certain areas due to safety concerns, lack of infrastructure, or political instability. For example, coverage may not be available for travel in war-torn regions or countries with high rates of terrorism.
  • Pre-existing conditions: Medevac coverage may not cover pre-existing conditions that require evacuation. Suppose you have a medical condition that requires immediate evacuation, and you didn’t disclose it when you purchased travel insurance. In that case, your medevac coverage may not be valid.
  • Timing: It’s crucial to note that medevac coverage is not available on demand. While it can provide timely evacuation in an emergency, it’s not a taxi service that can be called at any time. It’s also not available for non-emergency situations, such as transferring to another hospital for treatment.

It’s important to read the fine print of your travel insurance policy to understand the scope of medevac coverage. Make sure you know what’s included, what’s excluded, and any restrictions on coverage, so you’re not caught off guard in an emergency.


Most travel insurance policies have exclusions for medevac coverage. Common exclusions include:

  • Self-inflicted injuries: Travel insurance policies usually exclude coverage for any self-inflicted injuries or illnesses, including injuries caused by drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Hazardous activities: If you engage in risky activities like bungee jumping, paragliding, or mountaineering, your medevac coverage may be invalid. Make sure you read the policy’s fine print to determine which activities are covered and how much coverage is available.
  • Illegal activities: If you’re involved in any illegal activities, such as drug trafficking or terrorism, your travel insurance policy may not cover any related medical expenses or medevac fees.


Medevac coverage has limitations that can impact the scope and effectiveness of the coverage. These limitations include:

Distance: Depending on the distance and location of the emergency, the medevac coverage may only cover a limited amount of the expenses or may be capped at a specific dollar amount. For example, if you need to be airlifted from a remote location, your medevac coverage may have limitations due to the high cost of the airlift.

Mode of transport: The mode of transport may also be limited. For example, some medevac coverage may only cover transfer by air ambulance, while others might cover transport by ground ambulance or boat.

Limitations Examples
Coverage limits Some medevac coverage may have a cap on the amount they pay for an emergency evacuation.
Geographical limitations Travel insurance policies may have geographical limitations that restrict coverage based on the location of the emergency.

Understanding the limitations and exclusions of medevac coverage is essential in ensuring you have adequate protection while traveling. Make sure you read your travel insurance policy to determine what is covered and what is not, and if there are any limitations or exclusions that could impact your coverage.

Alternatives to medevac coverage in health insurance plans.

While medevac coverage is not always included in health insurance plans, there are alternative options available to ensure coverage in case of medical emergencies while traveling abroad.

  • Medevac Memberships: Companies such as Medjet offer annual memberships that provide medical evacuation services not only during international travel but also within the member’s home country.
  • Travel Insurance: Many travel insurance policies offer coverage for emergency medical evacuations as well as other travel-related incidents such as trip cancellations, baggage loss, and trip interruption.
  • Credit Card Benefits: Certain credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve provide travel insurance benefits including medical evacuation coverage when the card is used to purchase the trip in full.

It is important to review the specific coverage details of each alternative option to ensure it meets your individual needs and travel plans.

Comparison Table

Option Benefits Limitations
Medevac Memberships Provides medical evacuation services worldwide including in the member’s home country Annual fee can be costly, may not cover pre-existing medical conditions
Travel Insurance Covers a range of travel-related incidents including emergency medical evacuations Benefits may vary depending on the policy, may not cover pre-existing medical conditions, may have deductibles or out-of-pocket expenses
Credit Card Benefits May offer travel insurance benefits including medical evacuation coverage May require full purchase of travel using the credit card, may have coverage limitations or exclusions

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which alternative option best fits their travel needs and budget. However, it is important to have some form of coverage in place in case of medical emergencies while traveling abroad.

Is Medevac Covered by Health Insurance? FAQs

Q: What is medevac?
A: Medevac, or medical evacuation, is the emergency transport of a patient who requires immediate medical attention to a medical facility.

Q: Is medevac covered by health insurance?
A: It depends on your health insurance policy. Some policies offer coverage for medical evacuation, while others don’t.

Q: How can I find out if my health insurance covers medevac?
A: You can check your health insurance policy or contact your insurance provider to ask if they offer coverage for medical evacuation.

Q: How much does medevac cost?
A: The cost of medevac can vary depending on factors such as the distance to the medical facility, mode of transport, and the severity of the patient’s condition. It can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Q: Will my health insurance cover the full cost of medevac?
A: It depends on your policy and the specifics of your situation. Some policies may cover the full cost of medevac, while others may only cover a portion of it.

Q: What happens if my health insurance doesn’t cover medevac?
A: If your health insurance doesn’t cover medevac, you may have to pay for the cost out of pocket or consider purchasing additional coverage that includes medical evacuation.

Q: Is medevac coverage worth it?
A: It depends on your personal circumstances. If you frequently travel to remote areas where medical facilities are scarce, or you have a pre-existing medical condition that requires specialized care, medevac coverage may be worth considering.

Closing Thoughts

Now that you know more about medevac coverage, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s worth it for you to purchase this type of insurance. Remember to always check your policy and coverage options, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance provider if you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for reading, and please visit us again later for more helpful articles.