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5 Reasons to Consider Travel Assistance to Ease Pandemic-Related Travel Concerns

As Americans get vaccinated and people start to feel more comfortable about traveling again, pandemic-era concerns remain a focal point for anyone booking a trip in 2021. Traveling always presents varying levels of financial or medical risks, but a pandemic adds another layer of uncertainty and trepidation. 

It’s no surprise that this has led more and more travelers to inquire about travel insurance and travel assistance products before booking their trips. Unfortunately, the two products are often confused when in fact they offer very different protections and services.  

After a year when stranded cruise ship passengers and closed borders consistently made headlines, travelers are looking for assurance and peace of mind more than ever before. Whether you’re heading out on an RV excursion within the U.S. or gathering stamps in your passport this year, it’s essential to find a plan that’s going to protect you in the most stressful circumstances — when organizing something like a medical evacuation just isn't within your emotional, or financial, capacity. Here are 5 reasons you should consider travel assistance this year. 

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5 Reasons FAQ1

1. Travel assistance fills in critical gaps

 

Many travelers don’t realize that their health care insurance provides very little or no out-of-country medical coverage, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association. The medical expenses for an emergency medical evacuation — which usually occurs when a patient needs to be transported from an inadequate medical facility to an appropriate one — can be financially devastating, reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars and higher in some cases. 

Travel insurance helps you cover financial losses such as canceled hotel reservations or airline tickets, but not all plans include medical evacuation services. Travel insurance is intended to cover the specific trip for which it’s purchased and claims forms must be submitted for reimbursement after the event takes place.

Travel assistance membership programs, such as Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®), protects members whenever they are traveling away from home and become hospitalized due to injury or illness. Once members pay the annual fee, they do not have to pay for any of the following EA+ provided travel assistance services:        

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation – from an inadequate facility to an appropriate one
  • Transportation After Stabilization – to get you home safely after your hospitalization 
  • Nurse Escort – provided if your condition necessitates additional assistance on the way home
  • Return of Traveling Companion – gets your spouse and/or companion home as well
  • RV/Vehicle Return – gets your vehicle home if your injury or illness prevents you from driving it home yourself

5 Reasons FAQ2

2. Travel assistance covers all travel within your membership year

Unlike travel insurance, which is a one-off that is purchased for a specific trip, travel assistance is often an annual membership. Members can access services all year regardless of when your trip was booked or where you’re headed. This removes ambiguity so you can rest assured about your eligibility and simply enjoy your vacation.

5 Reasons FAQ3

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3. Travel assistance provides real-time services, advocacy and empathy

 

It’s a scary time when you’re far away from home and an illness or injury occurs. Travel assistance means you have a personal advocate right at your fingertips should something unexpected happen.

Because the services are arranged on the members’ behalf at the time they’re needed, not after-the-fact, travel assistance steps right in to facilitate the emergency arrangements that are necessary given the members’ situation. If it's determined you need a nurse escort to travel with you to another hospital or back to your home, they’ll arrange everything.

It happened to EA+ members Ivan and Betty after a medical emergency while on a cruise ship in Venice, Italy. Ivan called EA+ while at the hospital and EA+ arranged for a nurse escort to fly with them back to Miami, and also arranged and provided the airline tickets home.

Ivan said, “Although I am a physician, it gave us such peace of mind to have the nurse with us — literally taking care of all the details. It was door-to-door service. EA+ took care of all the transfers to airports, wheelchairs, security clearance, and the nurse even provided continued monitoring of vital signs on the plane.”

 

5 Reasons FAQ4

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4. Travel assistance is worldwide

 

With COVID-19 travel advisories and restrictions changing all the time, it’s hard to keep up with regulations that could leave you in a predicament should you face an emergency while traveling. Travel assistance not only offers services to travelers around the globe, it also offers peace of mind when rules abruptly change.

For example, if you leave today for a trip to France, as long as France isn’t on a U.S. Department of State Level 4 advisory for COVID when you leave the United States, you’ll be eligible for assistance from EA+, even if France’s risk assessment increases to Level 4 while you’re there. Under a travel insurance plan, this scenario would require filing a claim and then a waiting period before the claim is approved or denied. 

EA+ provides around the globe access to:

  • 60+ medical and travel assistance companies
  • Response centers worldwide on 6 continents
  • More than 1,500 air ambulances throughout the world
  • Experienced, multi-lingual team who will manage thousands of medical cases this year
  • In-house Medical Teams of doctors and nurses – qualified in an extensive range of specialties
 

5 Reasons FAQ5

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5. Travel assistance services extend to companions, family members and even pets

 

A compelling benefit of travel assistance is that nobody has to be alone — not even solo travelers — when emergencies strike. If you’re traveling with a partner or a group and a medical emergency strikes, one companion would qualify to accompany you as part of your travel assistance membership. If you’re traveling alone, your membership could provide transportation for a loved one to be by your side.

EA+ assistance for members’ companions include:

  • One round trip economy class airline ticket to bring a loved one to your bedside if you’re traveling alone and become hospitalized
  • Airfare home for dependent children or grandchildren who are left unattended if you’re unable to care for them due to your hospitalization
  • Emergency message forwarding assistance if you are unable to reach a family member or traveling companion during a travel emergency.
  • Pet care and return home assistance if you’re traveling with a pet and cannot care for them due to an accident or illness.
  • Ticket home for a traveling companion if EA+ evacuates you from one hospital to another, transports you home, or you pass away while traveling. If your companion is your spouse, they would have access to all of the same services as the primary EA+ member. 
 

5 Reasons About EA+

About Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+)

 

EA+ is a travel assistance product that protects members whenever they are traveling away from home and become hospitalized due to injury or illness. EA+ delivers more than 20 services to help members in this time of need.

EA+ is a membership program, not an insurance plan. Once members pay the annual fee, they do not have to pay for any of the provided services. EA+ makes all arrangements and covers all of the costs for the services on the members’ behalf, so they never have to worry about submitting claims for reimbursement. Member’s have to call EA+ during their emergency to be eligible for services.

For more information about rates and membership benefits, click here.