For Monika S.* they should have been the best days of the year. She and her partner wanted to enjoy a two-week break in Gran Canaria. But shortly after they arrived in the Canary Island, she began suffering from epileptic spasms. Her partner called the emergency services. In the hospital, the local medical staff stabilized the patient and initiated more in-depth investigations.
Two days later, her partner contacted Helvetia. He knew that Monika S. had taken out travel insurance that provides assistance in precisely these kinds of emergencies. Medical emergencies experienced by Helvetia customers while travelling are handled by its partner Medicall – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Monika S.’s partner was also assisted and supported by Medicall as he was facing a number of questions:
Medicall doctors in Switzerland contact the local hospitals, provide a second medical opinion and assess whether the patient can be transported, for example.
In the case of Monika S., the doctor decided that medical repatriation was possible. The Medicall employees therefore initiated her repatriation to Switzerland. Her partner also received support with all the organizational matters, as the language barrier made it difficult to communicate on the island. What did this involve? Medicall checked the availability of doctors and flights for the return travel, organized the necessary documents such as passport copies or vaccination certificates, arranged for transport to the airport by ambulance, and reported the repatriation to the airline. Or to put it simply: Medicall took care of everything to ensure that Helvetia's customer and her partner felt that they were in good hands. Around ten days after the incident, Ms S. was admitted to a hospital in Zurich where she could fully recover.
Luana Barberio explains: "Basic health insurance does not cover the costs of medical repatriation, so it’s worthwhile taking out travel insurance in many cases. Repatriation can quickly become expensive, depending on how it is done. If, for example, a patient is transported on a scheduled flight accompanied by a doctor, the costs will be around CHF 10,000. If a separate plane is needed for medical reasons, this rises to over CHF 20,000."
Assistance for persons pays the cost of recovery and transportation to the nearest hospital and the cost of food and accommodation if you have to extend your stay. If you travel home early or require medical repatriation, we pay the cost and reimburse you for the missed portion of your holiday. The insurance also helps break down language barriers: the costs for an interpreter are also covered.
*Name changed by the editors