By: Roy Berger, MedjetAssist President/CEO
Last month we invited Members to submit questions to us via email@example.com.
We thank all those that took the time to ask us what was on their mind when it comes to the Medjet offering and we have responded personally to all. Every couple of months we will take a question that seemingly has mass appeal and use this space to respond.
This comes from Fran of Roseburg, Oregon- a fairly new Medjet member as of December, 2009:
It might not hurt to define travel insurance vs. assistance for your members. Also wonder how cruise travel insurance fits into the equation.
Thanks, Fran. Actually this is a question we hear very often due to confusion in the marketplace regarding standard travel insurance and a specialty membership assistance program such as Medjet.
Travel insurance is important and used for both the exotic vacation as well as a cruise. Your standard travel insurance is going to offer trip cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage protection, an evacuation benefit and a host of other a la carte options.
Trip cancellation, interruption and lost luggage are pretty self explanatory on the surface and the fine print of your respective agreement will explain the benefits of these and anything else you might choose.
The evacuation benefit is where things get confusing. Evacuation is just that – removal from one position to another. In the case of standard travel insurance it’s the movement of an insured normally from one in-patient or pre-inpatient location to a location/medical center better suited for the patient’s condition.
For example, a travel insurance policy with an evacuation benefit will come into play on a cruise. Insured becomes ill and has to be evacuated off the ship for evaluation and/or treatment on a land based medical center. Your coverage will normally provide that movement but the benefit ends when you are moved from the port. Same applies to international travel. The insurance cover will evacuate you to a hospital of their choosing to (in their opinion) allow you to get the treatment your condition requires.
MedjetAssist is a repatriation benefit – a totally different kind of protection. We get you home. That is the benefit of your membership. You are a Medjet member if the unthinkable happens and you had the foresight to realize you want to get back into family and physician network.
Here is a scenario we see more often than not: Cruise ship in the Caribbean or perhaps Pacific. Passenger gets fairly ill or even injured. Cruise ship wants to remove passenger as soon as possible and continue with the voyage. Perhaps you will be evacuated to Miami or maybe even somewhere in South America but unless you live in Miami you’re not going home.
Same person is a Medjet member. You phone us. We begin our process. Your inpatient stay will qualify for the same at your hospital of choice. You want to get back into network. We understand and will begin the process of getting you repatriated.
Sometimes these stories have happy endings and the journey may continue. Ultimately however, as a Medjet member, if you are going to be hospitalized it’s your choice where you want to be.
And the beauty of the annual Medjet membership is your membership travels with you for a full year wherever you go, international or domestic, as long as you are 150 miles or more from home.
We believe in travel insurance. We think there’s a place for it. I loaded up on it for an upcoming June journey.
However when push comes to shove there’s no place like home- the difference between evacuation and repatriation- and that’s what we provide!
By John Gobbels, Medjet VP/COO
In March 2010 the TSA began deploying 150 backscatter imaging technology units and plans to deploy a total of approximately 450 imaging technology units this year.
Advanced imaging technology screening is safe for all passengers, and the technology meets national health and safety standards. Backscatter technology was evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the National Institute for Science and Technology (NIST), and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), and results confirmed that radiation doses are well below those specified by the American National Standards Institute. The amount of radiation from backscatter screening is equivalent to two minutes of flight on an airplane, and the energy projected by millimeter wave technology is 10,000 times less than a cell phone transmission.
The TSA has implemented strict measures to protect passenger privacy, which is ensured through the anonymity of the image. The image cannot be stored, transmitted or printed, and is deleted immediately once viewed. Additionally, advanced imaging technology screening is optional to all passengers at this time.
How It Works –
Backscatter technology projects low level X-ray beams over the body to create a reflection of the body displayed on the monitor. Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off the body to create a black and white three-dimensional image of the person.
What to Expect
Each passenger will walk into the imaging portal and once inside will be asked to stand in different positions and remain still for just a few moments while the technology creates an image of the passenger in real time. Once complete, the passenger will exit the opposite side of the portal.
What It Detects
The walk-through imaging technology efficiently detects metallic and non-metallic threats, such as weapons, explosives and other items that a passenger is carrying on his/her person, without physical contact.
Photo Credit: www.tsa.gov
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. This is never more true than when you capture travel memories in the frame of a photo. Picture Perfect is a World Wide Will series of travel photographs from Canadian travel photographer and graphic designer, Zeljka Burazin.
Morning came early and it was time for a quick breakfast before meeting our group. These first meetings always make me a little nervous because I can get terribly shy around new people. Fortunately my traveling companion is fearless so this makes introductions much easier. I really don’t know why I get butterflies. As usual, everyone is super nice and conversation about our upcoming adventure calms my nerves and excites my mind.
We all loaded onto the bus and transferred to the airport for our flight to the Galapagos Islands. The adventure started instantly and we arrived on San Cristóbal Island. We were met at the harbor by not only our crew but by some very lazy sea lions. The striking beauty of the Galapagos islands was all around us. Boats ranging from large passenger vessels to small fishing crafts dotting the deep blue harbor waters. Some of the small boats buzzed with fishermen while others had been pirated by lounging sea lions looking to warm up under the bright equatorial sun. Our new home for the next seven days, The Evolution, sat majestically in the back of the harbor. Its sharp black bow rising out of the blue waters looked almost like a waving hand that was welcoming us to the Galapagos.
There was no time wasted and our adventure began almost instantly. We boarded the ship, briefly checked out our rooms then dashed to the dining room where we were served a hearty lunch. While we ate lunch, the Evolution and its crew carried us to our first destination, Kicker Rock. This giant volcanic remnant sliced upward and out of the deep ocean like a beacon. The deep blue waters of the Pacific framed the majestic rock against the most beautiful blue sky. We circled the rock and learned the story of how it came to be and where it got its name. We learned we were looking at the remains of what used to be a giant volcano that rose from the sea millions of years ago. We also learned that the name, Kicker Rock, came from its resemblance, at certain angles, to a large boot. I have to say the boot theory was a bit of a stretch for me but the beauty of the rock was so striking it did not matter.
After circling Kicker Rock a few times we headed to Cerro Brujo. We landed on a powder-white sandy beach that we learned was close to the exact spot where Darwin first landed in the Galapagos many years ago. To the right of the beach was a large colony of sea lions. Our time on this beach included a walk around the area looking at the wildlife. I saw the first of many blue-footed boobies, more sea lions and scores of the now famous Darwin finches. We also saw iguanas, ghost crabs and my favorite, the Sally Light-Foot crab. When the walk ended we had two options before returning to the ship. We could explore the tidal area or we could go back to the landing spot and take a swim.
Now, I love to explore but I could not pass on the opportunity to go swimming in the beautiful baby blue waters that surrounded the beach. So, my buddy and I left the group and made our way back to “the swimming hole.” On our way back we passed scores of curious sea lions that watched our every step with inquisitive eyes. When we found a good spot to jump in we took our shoes off and plunged into the cold water. It was brisk but very refreshing after walking around under the hot sun. The sand on the bottom was so fine it felt like clouds under my feet.
We swam for a good 15 minutes when I noticed that my friend was looking at me with the strangest expression on his face. It was not fear necessarily but it was not calm either. Then I heard this noise behind me. It sounded like a cross between a snort and a sneeze. My heart jumped into my throat and I yelped like a frightened child. When I spun around I found two big brown eyes staring directly at me. It was a young sea lion and he had come to, well, to play. I let my heart slow some and then I dove back under the water and started swimming.
The rule here is that you cannot touch the wildlife but the wildlife can touch you. So as I swam around, my new found friend swam beside me. He circled me a few times then swam off, no doubt unimpressed with my lack of grace in the water. I don’t think I stopped smiling until I finally fell asleep later that night. I know that I did not stop talking about it until well after dinner. What an experience of a lifetime.
When we got back to the ship the crew greeted us with snacks and fresh juice laid out elegantly for us on the back deck. We had a short break before dinner time so after a few bites we grabbed a beer and headed to the hot tub at the front of the boat. The trip was officially off the hook at this point and it was not even the end of our first day on the boat. Amazing.
Dinner was fantastic and the wine was cold and crisp. We were all quickly becoming new best friends and had begun to share some of our favorite stories. I am not sure I remember my head touching the pillow that night. The excitement and adventure of the day had wiped me out. Best of all, this was just the beginning and I knew it.
Vacation is wonderful but don’t you just hate departure day? Trying to remember to take everything you need and all of the final details that need attention before you leave is almost too much. Well I have a secret weapon to remind myself of what to take care of. It’s a website called OhDontForget.com.
So if you are like me and need some help remembering all of these details then check out www.ohdontforget.com. The website is simple and easy to use. You type in the cell number that you want the reminder sent to, yours or your friends, the date and time that you want the reminder delivered and finally you type in what you want to be reminded of. When the time comes you get the reminder via text message on the specified cell phone. It’s a brilliant tool and it’s FREE – well, your standard text message costs do apply but there are no fees from OhDontForget.com.
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