Are International Healthcare and Air Ambulance Costs really spiraling? The International Travel & Health Insurance Journal (ITIJ) has used data provided by ABTA and major insurance and assistance provider AXA to highlight the increasing cost of international healthcare and Air Ambulance services. This information was issued as a warning to all travellers to ensure they have adequate travel insurance.

But is this the whole story? 

There can be no doubt that healthcare costs have increased in recent years, driven primarily by high levels of global inflation and increases in commodity prices linked to conflict. In our experience, there are a number of factors which have helped mitigate these rises. 

Improved levels of regional healthcare—Whilst we are far from a world where high-quality healthcare is available to all, there have been significant increases in available care in areas that have historically always required long-range Air Ambulance evacuations, especially in The Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. MedResQ has a comprehensive knowledge and network of partners and healthcare providers to ensure patients get the right care. 

Close provider relationships

 International Air Ambulance provision is competitive, especially in Europe and the USA. We keep very close relationships with our air ambulance partners whilst being aware of new providers entering the space to ensure our flights remain competitive. 

Having a deeper clinical understanding of a patient’s condition

MedResQ’s medical operations team is trained to build a detailed and comprehensive picture of a patient’s condition, which can then be reviewed by our medical experts. This way, we can ensure that money is not wasted on protracted admissions or unnecessary Air Ambulances. It also allows us to recommend early interventions and evacuations/repatriations where clinically appropriate. 

Utilisation of backhauls and Wing-to-wing flights

There is no getting away from the fact that long-haul air ambulances are expensive. However, by having close relationships with Air Ambulance providers, significant savings can be found by utilising sectors where aircraft are already flying without a patient, referred to in the industry as a ‘backhaul’ or ’empty leg’. There may also be certain routings where there may be a patient may be suitable to travel via a stretcher on a commercial flight, at least on part of their journey, before linking up with an air ambulance for sectors where airlines cannot facilitate this, such as remote or regional airports.  

Our advice is always to check that you have comprehensive medical insurance. However, even if you are in a situation where you have been declined, seeking expert advice early on is important to mitigate the costs.