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Are You Prepared If Your Hiking Vacation Becomes A Helicopter Rescue?

April 1, 2021

In March of 2020, Margaret was looking forward to visiting friends in Arizona. They were going to meet up in Phoenix and drive north to hike the Grand Canyon. Because of the coronavirus outbreak, the trip was delayed. The team finally met up last month. Unfortunately, another setback occurred, but this time on the trail.

The group started their hike on the Widforss Trail around 9am. Three hours into their hike, the group realized they underestimated not only  the Arizona heat, but also how much water they should have brought along. Margaret was having serious heat-related issues and couldn't make it back down. The hike ended with Margaret being flown off the trail to the hospital.

Rescue teams were called around 1 p.m. and they hiked up the mountain and talked to the group. The crews decided the safest way to get Margaret down was to fly her off using a helicopter. So that's what they did and then they took her to the hospital.

Margaret’s initial embarrassment quickly became extreme relief. Not just because the rescue team may well have saved her life, but because she already had a MASA membership. “This was the first rescue helicopter I needed, but not the first I’ve ever seen. After years of hiking everywhere from Joshua Tree to the AT, I’ve seen more than my share of rescues. And I’ve heard the stories of how much an emergency helicopter – or even an ambulance can cost.”

After hearing stories from fellow hikers how an ambulance can cost thousands of dollars (and an emergency helicopter ride could cost as much as $50,000), she did her research. She learned that Medicare and many insurance policies don’t cover the cost of emergency transportation. After a little more digging, she found Medical Air Services Association (MASA). MASA provides emergency transportation coverage whether you’re travelling anywhere in the world, or at home. The coverage is 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In addition to emergency transportation by air or ground, MASA also covers organ retrieval, organ recipient transportation, recuperation / repatriation, return transportation, minor children return, mortal remains return, and vehicle return.

With a laugh, Margaret says, “I may have underestimated the Arizona heat and how much water we’d need, but I did not underestimate the importance of having emergency transportation insurance!”

Whether you’re an avid traveler or a homebody, MASA is an excellent way to protect yourself from the high costs of emergency medical transportation. Give yourself the reassurance of knowing you’re protected. Learn more about MASA memberships here.

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