Medical evacuation for expats Medical evacuation for expats

EMS Ambulance 3 May 2019


Our medical evacuation services are often used by people who fall ill while on holiday or temporarily abroad. But sometimes we evacuate people who have been living abroad for a while, otherwise known as ‘expats’.


Why might an expat want to be evacuated?

You might think that expats, who are settled abroad and used to a different healthcare system, would be comfortable to be treated there in a medical emergency. But, perhaps surprisingly, that’s not always the case. Often when a medical emergency occurs the only thing expats can think about is getting home. This may be for a number of reasons:

  • You want to access more specialist care which is only available in your home country
  • You want to be close to your friends and family so they can visit you in hospital
  • You might have better cover on your insurance for care at home when compared with the care offered abroad.

Can expats be medically evacuated?

The short answer is yes. EMS Ambulance can medically evacuate nearly everyone. There is no barrier to you returning home for medical treatment. We can evacuate expats from all over the world, in any medical condition. Our long distance road ambulances as well as the private air ambulance we use, contain state-of-the-art medical equipment including life support facilities. We can bring oxygen tanks and specialist medical supplies. Our dedicated team of medical experts can support you every step of the way – from the first phone call to finding you a bed in your home hospital. We can help you acquire any documentation you need, and liaise with your doctors once you get there. We speak multiple languages so talking to your doctors abroad is not likely to be a problem, either.


Will treatment at home be covered by my insurance?

Most expats have comprehensive medical insurance which covers evacuation. But even if your insurance doesn’t cover evacuation, or your insurer doesn’t agree that evacuation is essential, don’t worry. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Bear in mind that you may need to pay for the care you will receive back in your home country – at least initially. In the UK, for example, most medical services are free for all but you will need to show that you are ‘ordinarily resident’ in order to receive treatment for free. If you aren’t ordinarily resident then being a British citizen, paying UK taxes or national insurance contributions, owning a property, being registered with a GP or having an NHS number won’t qualify you for free treatment. If you only live abroad, you will be charged for non-emergency healthcare treatment. Expats working or living in the European Economic Area or Switzerland can currently receive some free treatment through their EHIC card.

If, of course, you plan to settle in your home country, you can move back into the normal healthcare system once you have arrived.


How can I prepare beforehand?

If you are able to prepare before your evacuation and you take regular medication it is wise to bring enough supplies with you to last until you can register with a doctor. You should also bring your current medical records with you and any other information that your doctor abroad can provide about your illnesses and/or surgeries while under their care. Don’t worry if your medical information is in a different language; it’s likely that EMS Ambulance will be able to translate it for you.

If you or a loved one is an expat needing medical evacuation, please don’t hesitate. Contact us today to discuss what options might be available to you. We can help get you home, wherever you are in the world.