Why are ambulance planes so expensive

Who pays for the patient repatriation in an emergency?

(ADAC-Schutzbrief Versicherungs-AG) Anyone who falls ill or is injured abroad is in the worst case financially ruined. Dimitrios Tsiktes, the head of the ADAC ambulance service, explains why. Five questions and answers on the subject of health insurance abroad and patient repatriation.

1. Sick abroad - you don't want that to any vacationer. And yet it happens every day?

Answer: Yes, the ADAC ambulance service of the ADAC-Schutzbrief Versicherungs-AG had their hands full again in 2016. Around 55,000 sick or injured vacationers had to receive medical care. A return transport to a hospital in their home country was specially organized for around 12,100 of these patients. This is often a very costly story from abroad. Especially when an air ambulance is used.

2. What does such a special flight cost, e.g. from the Canary Islands?

Answer: Through its subsidiary Aero-Dienst GmbH & Co. KG in Nuremberg, ADAC SE operates, among other things, four flying intensive care units - including two large ambulance aircraft for up to ten patients. Basically, the longer the flight, the more expensive it will be. Depending on the type of machine, an ADAC special ambulance flight from the Canary Islands to Germany costs up to 45,000 euros. An intensive care transport from Mexico, for example, can cost up to 70,000 euros. And from Asia or Australia, up to 130,000 euros can quickly be raised.

3. Are these costs covered by the statutory health insurance?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. A patient repatriation to a clinic in Germany is generally not covered by the health insurance fund. No matter in which country you are vacationing. If you have not taken out additional health insurance abroad in such a case, you risk financial ruin in the worst case. That is why all consumer advocates, and even the statutory health insurances themselves, advise you to take out health insurance when you travel abroad. This is available for the whole family at ADAC-Schutzbrief Versicherungs-AG from 21.80 euros per year.

4. What about the doctor and hospital costs? Will I at least get these expenses paid for by the cash register?

Answer: Even when it comes to assuming medical or hospital costs, it often looks bad for holidaymakers, because outside of Europe the statutory health insurance pays nothing at all. And even within Europe, only a fraction of the treatment costs are often covered - if you end up in a private clinic, for example. In such a case, a maximum of the costs covered by the statutory health insurance of the holiday country will be reimbursed. Then a few thousand euros quickly stick to the patient.

5. What should I do if I get sick abroad?

Answer: If you are traveling abroad, you should find out about medical care in the holiday region before you start your journey. This is especially true for families with children, because in many holiday regions there is a lack of suitable paediatricians, children's clinics or specialists. In an emergency, it often takes too long to find the right doctor or hospital. In many cases, the tips from hotel employees or holiday home renters are not a good solution. Since good money can be made with foreign patients, sick tourists in some holiday regions are only taken to specific doctors or clinics. In the event of illness, it is better to call the ADAC's medical travel service. The ADAC ambulance service can be reached on 0049 / (0) 89 / 7676-76. Every day. 24 hours.