What if I require emergency
medical transportation?

Travel insurance plans offered by Allianz Global Assistance that include benefits for unexpected medical emergencies, will generally also include benefits for Medical Transportation. Visit "Find a Plan" for more information.

If you experience a medical emergency while travelling, you may require some form of emergency medical transportation depending on the severity your situation. The following section provides an overview of these situations so you know what to expect.

Just like at home, some medical emergencies may require the help of emergency response services to get you to the hospital. In these instances, policies that include emergency medical benefits will typically cover the cost for a ground ambulance to get you to a hospital if you’re experiencing a medical emergency.

Medical evacuations may be required in two scenarios: 

  • If you experience a serious medical emergency in a remote area where there are no medical facilities, the medical transportation benefit offers coverage for you to be transported, or “evacuated”, by ground or air to the nearest available medical facility. 
  • If you are at a medical facility but it’s determined that the facility does not have the required quality of care, equipment or expertise to treat your emergency, the medical transportation benefit will cover the cost for you to be transported, or “evacuated”, by ground or air to the nearest appropriate medical facility with the necessary levels of care required. 

In both scenarios for medical evacuations, the transportation needs to be pre-approved and arranged by Allianz Global Assistance.

When you experience a serious medical emergency that requires you to be admitted to hospital, the purpose of travel insurance is to provide coverage for eligible expenses and treatment until the emergency has been treated and your condition is stable enough for you to return home to Canada.

Once your condition is stabilized, and the treating physician at the destination facility confirms you are stable to travel, Allianz Global Assistance will then usually look to repatriate you home to Canada for recovery and continued care if required.

This coordination of repatriation is a complex process that involves many parties, and is arranged by Allianz Global Assistance.

Once the patient is declared medically stable for transfer, the race to find a receiving physician in Canada begins.

Our team will first contact local hospitals starting with the catchment area of the patient’s residence (a defined geographic region within a certain distance from the patient’s residence), as Canadian hospitals always give priority to patients with addresses in their catchment area.

Once a hospital is located, several physicians are contacted, with conference calls coordinated between them and the treating physician at the destination. Once the receiving physician is in agreement to accept the patient, a bed must become available at the facility where the physician is located.

The timeline to secure a bed in Canada can take from a few hours to several weeks. Factors that impact the ability to locate a bed include: 

  • Type of bed needed ( i.e. ICU versus medical bed)
  • Outbreaks in a  facility: Hospitals with flu outbreaks will not be allowed to receive any additional patients until the outbreak is contained
  • Volume of  ‘overflow patients’ in the emergency ward: Hospitals need to redirect patients based on this as their capacity is exceeded
  • Availability of equipment or procedures to care for the patient’s condition
  • Timing of bed availability as it pertains to a patient’s needs. Example:  There may only be a small window of time that the patient has before a surgery needs to be done in order to have the best outcome. If a bed is not available in time, then the patient cannot be moved.

As soon as a receiving bed becomes available, the air ambulance transport is scheduled and executed immediately, with arrangements made by Allianz Global Assistance every step along the way until the patient is settled in the receiving hospital in Canada.

Throughout the entire process, the well-being of the patient is the first priority. As such, patients will not be transported until both the treating physician and Allianz Global Assistance’s medical team have fully confirmed stability to travel, and a receiving physician and bed at an appropriate facility within the patient’s catchment area in Canada have been arranged.