We have been Medjet members for years, and it’s time I review why. Please read the rules and regulations before purchasing a Medjet membership, as benefits are subject to change at any time. If you buy a membership through links in this post, I may be compensated.
Modern travel looks little like it did even a few short years ago. These days, uncertainty is built into every aspect of the experience. Between COVID, staffing shortages, and climate concerns, various global issues can have catastrophic personal consequences.
These can be as minor as brief flight delays, but transport issues become downright dangerous in many cases. This is particularly worrisome for today’s most vulnerable travelers, who may struggle to access quality care in the event of illness or injury abroad.
Even when hospitals are available on the road, there’s something comforting about working with trusted doctors from home — but thousands of miles may make it difficult to consult with favored medical professionals.
Therein lies the value of Medjet — an emergency medical evacuation service that bridges the gap between travel insurance and medical care. Medjet’s goal: to give you peace of mind while you’re traveling and, in the worst-case scenario, to get you home as quickly and safely as possible.
An air medical transport membership can be a valuable addition to the travel planning process. It is an investment and, at the outset, takes extra research and effort to get started. It’s essential to understand what this membership provides and the difference between it and travel insurance.
Medjet reviews can help you determine when or why medical evacuation coverage might be worthwhile. We are members because we believe Medjet’s medical emergency transport benefits matter.
What Is Medjet?
Medjet describes itself as an Indirect Air Carrier (IAC). This term references any entity that engages indirectly in air transportation.
In other words, while Medjet provides access to air transport services, it is not in charge of the operational aspects of transporting people or items by air. The company does not own or operate aircraft but contracts and coordinates with licensed direct air carriers.
While Medjet offers multiple IAC services, its core function is to arrange for medical transfer when members are hospitalized over 150 miles from home.
This type of transport is not covered by the vast majority of health or travel insurance plans, so Medjet can step in during times of emergency to ensure that members receive the care they need.
Maintaining several dozen dispatch locations worldwide and access to over 250 air ambulances, Medjet has achieved a stellar reputation in an industry it helped found. They’re a vetted Virtuoso member, too, which means that many high-end travel agents and agencies recommend these memberships to their clients.
Its history of success goes back to the early 90s when the company helped pioneer the air transport membership concept. Today, it’s a trusted option for all types of travelers.
Types of Medjet Medical Transport Memberships: MedjetAssist vs MedjetHorizon
If you’re thinking of investing in a plan, it’s important to analyze current Medjet options, as they differ considerably in terms of cost and scope.
Travelers previously had the option of MedjetExpress, which has since been discontinued. Today, you’ll choose between two main programs: MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon.
I clarify these plans in detail below:
MedjetAssist: Air Medical Transportation
MedjetAssist provides a base level of protection, thereby making it easier for you to get home in an emergency.
Its cost is modest compared to MedjetHorizon, but its features are also more limited.
MedjetAssist takes many forms. Its memberships vary based on the preferred period of coverage and the type of traveler.
Not all emergency transport situations involve trips abroad. Often, vacationers struggle to find desired care when they remain within the United States.
If you don’t have big plans for traveling overseas but would still like access to swift medical transport, you might benefit from Medjet’s domestic membership. This plan provides transport for members to a home hospital of their choice or specialty facility of choice within the 48 contiguous states.
Available to both students and faculty while away from home, this plan is offered to those who spend up to 140 days attending or teaching at accredited educational institutions. Families sending kids abroad find this plan incredibly comforting.
If you plan to spend more than 140 days studying or teaching abroad, you won’t qualify for the Collegiate plan — but you can take advantage of the Expatriate option, which is available for either 180 or 365 days.
Your health is of utmost importance, of course. If you’re also concerned about your motorcycle, Medjet benefits can help you protect your bike.
The motorcycle membership involves an added fee of just $35 per year. This will ensure that your motorcycle is returned promptly to your dealership.
Motorcycle transfers are prompted by hospitalizations that occur over 150 miles from home, as well as accidents that prevent you from safely operating your bike.
This program differs considerably from those outlined above. It’s limited to members between the ages of 75 and 84. To qualify, members must be in good health, as verified by questionnaires and medical statements completed by physicians.
Due to these restrictions, the Diamond plan cannot be purchased online. Keep in mind that only one medical transport is covered per year with Diamond coverage.
In addition to providing medical evacuation coverage, Medjet offers a service you might not want to think about — but could prove critical should a tragedy occur: the transport of mortal remains. This can lift a significant burden from loved ones dealing with shock or grief.
MedjetHorizon: Air Medical Transportation + Travel Security & Crisis Response
If you like the offerings from the Assist program but want an additional layer of protection, you could be the perfect candidate for MedjetHorizon. This is what we have.
This program centers around emergency medical evacuation benefits but also provides several extra features that emphasize security:
- 24/7 access to the Crisis Response Center from FocusPoint International. This provides much-needed advice or even intervention in the event of a natural disaster, kidnapping, wrongful detention, blackmail, or other emergency situation. Crisis consultants are capable of swiftly coordinating in-country responses to those directly impacted by crisis events.
- Emergency medical cash advance of up to $60,000. Many international hospitals currently demand upfront payments prior to treating patients. This applies even in emergency situations, making it difficult for travelers to receive urgent care when they lack access to cash — and credit cards are often not an acceptable solution. MedjetHorizon can step in with a major cash advance to ensure that you are admitted to medical facilities when emergency care is required.
- Personal travel advisories. Build security into your travel plans with help from MedjetHorizon, which offers a personalized planning solution to give you greater insight into concerns you might face abroad. Backed by extensive research, Medjet’s travel advisories alert you to events that might impact your plans. You’ll find it easy to obtain necessary information on local laws, passport requirements, and even government warnings.
Like MedjetAssist, MedjetHorizon is available as a short-term plan or annual memberships. Dedicated solutions are also offered to college students, ex-pats, motorcyclists, and seniors. These call for extra charges above and beyond the base price of the MedjetAssist plan.
What Is Not Covered By Medjet Emergency Medical Evacuation?
As you determine Medjet’s potential role in your future travel plans, it’s essential to consider what the emergency transport membership can cover and when coverage is not provided.
After all, if there’s little overlap between the way you travel and the type of protection Medjet provides, you may want to think twice before investing in a plan.
Situations not covered by either the MedjetAssist or MedjetHorizon plans include:
- Emergency transport within 150 miles of your home hospital. While some of the most enjoyable vacations are planned close to home, these aren’t the best options for obtaining maximum Medjet coverage. Medjet’s services are primarily meant for those traveling far from home, so protection is limited when emergencies occur within a few hours of your primary doctor or home hospital. If, for example, you’re injured 100 miles from home, you will not be eligible for medical transport under your Medjet membership.
- Transfers when the patient is not yet stable. A minimum level of stability must be reached before you are deemed eligible for transfer via Medjet. If, at first, you are deemed medically unstable, you may receive initial care from a nearby medical facility. Once your condition has improved enough to make transport viable, Medjet can arrange for transport to your home hospital.
- Transfers for mild illnesses or injuries. Simple injuries such as sprains are inconvenient when you’re abroad, but they are not sufficiently severe to require a medical transfer from Medjet. To qualify, your condition must prevent you from returning home without urgent medical attention.
- Transfers directly from cruise ships. In the event of a cruise-based medical emergency, you will need to first obtain care and initial testing from a hospital located onshore. From there, Medjet can transfer you to your home hospital.
- Repeated transport services within a given year. If you’re under 75 years of age, your membership grants you a total of two transports per year.
It is imperative to understand what is and is not covered. This can change.
Cost considerations will play heavily into your decision to invest in a Medjet membership — and it will especially factor into the MedjetAssist vs. MedjetHorizon debate.
If you’re like most serious travelers, you’re willing to invest in a base level of protection. That being said, the specific amount you’re willing to pay for a medical transport membership may depend on how far you intend to travel, how long you’ll be abroad, and which activities you hope to partake in while you’re away.
A high-level membership is reasonable if you plan to spend months overseas but may feel excessive for short trips close to home.
Determining cost can be tricky from a personal standpoint and because Medjet’s pricing structure takes so many factors into account. Chief considerations include:
- Individual or family plan
- Length of coverage
- Discount plans such as AARP
At the time of this writing, depending on your situation, you may be able to obtain short-term Medjet coverage for as low as $99. Annual memberships for those up to age 74 cost as little as $295 per year. Prices are subject to change.
Keep in mind that while Medjet structures its memberships as short-term or annual, it’s possible to score multi-year discounts if you enroll for longer terms.
The MedjetAssist program provides terms of up to five years, which deliver a significant price break for each year enrolled. For example, an individual enrolling for five years can secure a Medjet Assist membership for a total of $1,099 or just $219 per year.
Should you MedjetHorizon, the cost will again depend on how long you obtain coverage and for how many people.
Typically, the annual MedjetHorizon program involves an added fee of $149 per year for individuals under 74, plus $179 per year for families. Short-term MedjetHorizon memberships require added fees of $85 for individuals and $115 for families.
Medjet Medical Evacuation Coverage Vs. Regular Travel Insurance
Medjet differs considerably from standard travel insurance to the point that the company makes every effort to avoid describing itself as an insurance provider. A Medjet membership is not a travel insurance policy.
With travel insurance, the main focus is on the financial component. The ultimate goal is to protect your wallet. Medical transport solutions such as Medjet provide some financial protection, but this accompanies the most critical mission: to get you home safe and ensure you receive the quality treatment you deserve.
Travel insurance may carry benefits like trip cancelation and lost luggage coverage. Medjet is focused on medical transport benefits.
When explaining the nuances of travel insurance and medical transport, Medjet uses an evocative comparison: travel insurance is the cake, while Medjet is the icing. As this illustrates, conventional insurance offers plenty to appreciate, but membership with Medjet brings that extra element of security that you might not miss until it’s gone.
Ultimately, it’s not a matter of whether Medjet should be used instead of standard travel insurance, but rather, how these programs can complement one another.
Ideally, you won’t leave home until you’re protected by both a travel insurance plan and a membership such as MedjetAssist or MedjetHorizon.
The value of this combination is easiest to understand when analyzing a common situation in which both Medjet and travel insurance might be used: an accident occurs in a remote location such as Fiji, where the nearest hospital cannot provide necessary treatments. From there, travel insurance may cover an emergency evacuation to a nearby foreign hospital. Once you are stable, Medjet can step in and provide transport home to a hospital in the United States.
In this situation, travel insurance might be necessary if you need to be moved before reaching medical stability. If, however, you are stable from the get-go, travel insurance might not be required.
For example, a stable patient in Fiji might turn to Medjet for transport back to the United States. Still, the combination of travel insurance and Medjet provides the most comprehensive coverage, and therefore, the best peace of mind.
Medjet Vs. Global Rescue
While Medjet is widely regarded as a pioneer in medical air transport, it’s by no means the only provider to offer such services. Another prominent name in the Indirect Air Carrier industry? Global Rescue.
At first glance, Medjet and Global Rescue look a lot alike. Both plans serve the same primary function: transporting travelers to their home hospitals or primary care physicians in the event of illness or injury. Both companies provide medical transport membership plans rather than travel insurance. In addition to these medical transport benefits, both offer the opportunity to upgrade and receive additional security services.
Ultimately, the most significant difference between Medjet and Global Rescue usually comes down to cost. While Global Rescue offers many compelling benefits, there’s a definite Medjet cost advantage if you seek a long-term membership.
Two understand the nuances between the two memberships, read the fine print.
Summing it Up: Medjet for Travel Peace of Mind
During the excitement of travel planning, the last thing you want is to think about the worst-case scenario. You’re busy choosing flights and hotels — why bring down the mood with the thought of emergency scenarios?
However, the current reality is that uncertainty will factor heavily into all aspects of travel. A little protection can go a long way, especially if you want to feel extra confident about travel in an ever-changing world.
While you can find some solace with travel insurance, this gets a much-needed boost when you invest in MedjetAssist or MedjetHorizon.
These plans will have you feeling as confident as possible in the lead-up to your big adventure. You can rest easy, knowing that you’ve taken precautions no matter what happens while you’re away.
I’m grateful to say that we’ve not yet been in a circumstance where we’ve had actually to use our membership. But because I am in the travel industry, I have heard of many travelers who have needed to use it. What I’ve heard is enough for me to keep it.