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Medevac Insurance in The Bahamas

When traveling to The Bahamas, particularly by cruise ship, it is advisable to have international medical and Medevac insurance in case of emergency. 

 Some things to know before you go:

When a cruise ship must make a detour to drop off an ill passenger, the costs of the detour are passed on to the passenger.  These costs, along with after-hours cruise ship fees for medical attention, can quickly add up. 

Each medevac company follows different procedures.  For example, if it is a helicopter versus a jet pick-up, the patient’s next of kin, if present, may have to decide whether to travel with the patient or give up that right so a medevac nurse can accompany (weight limits become extremely important on helicopters if they must cover a long distance due to limited fuel capacity).

Check if the insurance will cover all or part of the flight, as it may only cover transport to the closest hospital. This may mean being medevaced to somewhere other than the United States or, being taken to a hospital other than where you live.  Most medevacs will take you to the nearest hospital, which may not be the hospital of your choice.  Due to the urgency of the situation, the most important consideration for the Medevac company or other emergency team is to get the patient to a hospital as quickly as possible.  This often means taking the patient to whichever is the closest hospital.

No hospital in The Bahamas has a helipad landing. Therefore, the Medevac plane or helicopter will be forced to land at the airport and then transport the patient by ambulance to the hospital.  Please note that the airport is on the opposite side of the New Providence island from where the nearest private hospital with full emergency care services is.  Air ambulance pick-up, landing and transport to the emergency room or hospital, therefore, can often take over two hours.

Medevac companies do not normally offer door-to-door service.  For The Bahamas, most Medevac companies price quotes, if quoting a Medevac to the U.S. from The Bahamas, usually covers direct transport to Florida.  When purchasing insurance, ask if they have a door-to-door policy and what the price difference is, as well as what the maximum amount is that the company will cover in advance of service if payment in cash is required before service.

Medical emergencies at private hospitals in The Bahamas often require payment in cash before rendering services. Find out if the medevac company will pay these for you, or if you are expected to have to pay these costs out of pocket for reimbursement later.  If surgery is required, these up-front costs can often surpass $20,000 US dollars.  Therefore, when traveling abroad, it is always advisable to carry a credit card with a high remaining balance to ensure you will not become destitute if a medical emergency arises.  If you cannot pay in advance of service, you will be transferred to a public hospital.

Normally, a medevac company will work directly with the patient’s regular US physician who will work with the medevac company to establish the relationship with the receiving hospital and physician in the U.S.

What to look for and ask when selecting a Medevac company:

Every medevac company is distinctive and each features different varieties of services. It is immensely important that the medical patient is at ease with the personnel as well as the services they will be receiving, but it's also critical that the family is too. Take a good look at the accreditation and services of each medevac company before settling on one to fly you or those you love.

When you are selecting a medevac service or purchasing Medevac insurance, find out the specifications of the aircraft the company uses. Consider an airplane versus a helicopter which has a broader exterior door in order to do away with difficulty in ushering the patient in and out, along with one which has a larger gas total capacity to be able to minimize the need for stops in order to refuel and allow more passengers on board. 

Look for medevac suppliers that will permit you to take a travel mate with your family member.  If the whole family is traveling together, ask also if the entire family would be allowed to travel on the Medevac plane with the patient, or if only one next of kin will be allowed on board.  If the rest of the family must depart by commercial air, ask if the costs of their emergency return ticket are covered as part of the insurance. 

Any time there is a medical urgent situation that needs anyone to be airlifted, it's going to be less stressful for the patient if an immediate family member is present, even if at minimum they allow only one individual to travel with him or her. Know at the start if there are additional costs to pay if you want to take extra people. A few air ambulances will not charge for an additional person.  In truth, there are even those companies which really encourage as well as allow the ill person to carry along small caged domestic pets if there is a necessity for this. Make sure that you check out the company’s fine print about pets, family and friends if you feel that it can help to lower the strain of the affected person. The top suppliers of medevacs or air ambulances offer what is known as "bed to bed" vendors. What this means is the medical staff journeys together to the medical center and offers a report to the receiving area. Like this the sick person is guaranteed a smooth cross over to the new care service provider and also continuity of consideration is assured for the sufferer.

Be certain that the aircraft is used purely for medevac purposes. It goes without saying that having the proper gear aboard the aircraft ought to be standard operating procedure, nevertheless, many medevac providers contract out aircraft that is often used for other purposes.  Ensuring it is a full time Medevac air ambulance is critical primarily so that you know that the specialized medical devices your loved one may need are always on board. 

Find an air ambulance provider which uses two pilots at the same time instead of only one.  Just think - In the event that something was to take place and merely one pilot was on board, the outcome may be terrible and lead to a second emergency.  In a similar fashion, make sure that there are enough medical employees on the aircraft who are well versed in in-flight medical care and medical types of procedures.  Numerous splendid medical workers exist on the market that simply do not know just how to practice medicine at a cruising altitude.  Make certain that employees within the medevac which you make use of are well versed for in flight medicine and know exactly what to do about whatever unexpected emergencies that might occur.