Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000, Executive Director
I recently made a trip to Sparta, Illinois. The small town with a population of 4,500 might not be familiar to you, but it’s the home of the World Shooting and Recreational Complex “” a beautiful facility that also was a great site for the 16th Annual National African American RV Camp Rally.
I attended as an exhibitor representing FMCA, and it was obvious that participants were having a wonderful time. During my four days there, I had quite a few opportunities to discuss the benefits of FMCA with members and non-members in attendance. I once again realized that many members of FMCA still do not know about MEDEX PLUS, and many still don’t realize that FMCA purchases it for them “” it comes free with their membership.
In explaining the MEDEX PLUS benefit to attendees at this recent rally, I would tell the following story, using the local setting and myself as an example to explain the specifics of the program:
Let’s say that my wife, Sharon, and I had driven to Sparta in our motorhome, towing our car. If I dropped to the floor right here suffering a heart attack, hopefully someone would immediately call 911. I would then be transported to the local Sparta Community Hospital.
My wife would be in the emergency room waiting area where she would be briefed on my condition by the attending physician. If they said Sparta Community Hospital could not provide the care that I needed, they would need to transport me to the closest medical facility capable of meeting my needs, a hospital in St. Louis. That’s when MEDEX would come in. Sharon would pull out her MEDEX card and inform the hospital staff that MEDEX has a team who will arrange and cover that transport, whether it is by air or by ground. I am surmising that air transport might cost as much as $20,000 and ground transport $10,000, but these are only estimates based on stories I have heard.
At that point, Sharon would work with a hospital coordinator to call MEDEX and arrange transport through MEDEX. I must be in North America (or Hawaii), but 100 miles away from the address on my driver’s license, to qualify for this benefit, and MEDEX must be called prior to the transport.
Now let’s assume the procedure that I receive at the St. Louis hospital is successful, and upon discharge I am not able to drive our motorhome. MEDEX would then transport me back home to Cincinnati by commercial air. Also, assuming that Sharon is not in a position to operate our motorhome or towed car, MEDEX would pay for her return home via commercial air, and would pay the cost of having our motorhome and towed car returned to Cincinnati.
All of this may sound like an unbelievable benefit that comes with your FMCA membership, but it does not end there.
If the procedure at the hospital in St. Louis had been unsuccessful and I died, or even if I died before they were able to transport me from Sparta, MEDEX would repatriate my remains to Cincinnati, which would include embalming or cremation as appropriate or requested.
I described many of the following MEDEX benefits in the story I shared with rally attendees:
1. Emergency medical air and ground evacuation: Medically supervised evacuation to the nearest appropriate facility if an FMCA member is involved in an accident or suffers a sudden, unforeseen illness and adequate medical facilities are not available.
2. Repatriation of remains: The return of an FMCA member’s mortal remains in the event of death.
3. Return home of unattended grandchildren and dependent children: Transportation home for an FMCA member’s children and/or grandchildren left unattended as the result of a member’s accident, illness, or death.
4. RV and automobile return home: Return of an FMCA member’s drivable vehicle to his or her residence (or return of a rental vehicle) if the member is unable to operate the vehicle due to accident, illness, or death.
5. Transportation to join a hospitalized member, for members traveling alone and hospitalized for seven days or more: The transportation of a family member or friend to visit an FMCA member who is hospitalized for seven days or more.
6. Transportation home after initial evacuation: The transportation of an FMCA member to the point of origin, or permanent residence, following an emergency evacuation.
For each of these services, there is no limit to the amount that MEDEX will pay, with the exception of the fifth one. Transportation for a relative or friend to join the hospitalized member who is traveling alone has a limit of $1,000.
The primary focus of this MEDEX plan is to provide basic benefits to FMCA members during medical emergencies and to assist with travel arrangements after the emergency situation is resolved. Please note that while this program includes payment for emergency medical transportation, it does not provide payment for the initial transportation to a medical facility, and only specific conditions will warrant emergency medical transportation to a member’s home. As a general rule, MEDEX pays for an emergency evacuation when it is medically necessary to obtain a higher level of care.
Your care will be evaluated by several doctors: the attending physician who is most knowledgeable about your current condition; your personal physician who is most aware of your ongoing health history; and MEDEX’s physician adviser who is most familiar with the issues regarding medical evacuations. These experts will consult with each other and make decisions based on what is most appropriate for you.
In addition to the paid services listed above, the MEDEX PLUS Program provides assisted services of a personal and medical nature “” physician referrals, replacement of prescription medication, etc. When talking with MEDEX coordinators, you should provide them with information regarding the specifics of your concerns and needs so they can best assist you.
I also need to point out a few specifics of the contract language.
1. There is an exclusion in the contract for travel that is made for the purpose of securing medical care or medical advice. Traveling against the advice of a physician is excluded. Traveling with a chronic or life-threatening illness also is excluded if that condition is the reason for the evacuation.
2. If it’s necessary to verify eligibility as to whether you’re 100 miles from your permanent residence, contract language indicates that MEDEX will use the address on your driver’s license.
3. The MEDEX PLUS Program is a travel assistance program, and payment for services is over and above or on top of any existing insurance program or private pay plan that is in force. Your primary payer would pay these expenses, and MEDEX will be the secondary payer.
4. The MEDEX PLUS Program does not cover per diem costs or pet return.
In order to secure MEDEX PLUS benefits, it is imperative that MEDEX be notified immediately when medical travel assistance is required. On page 123 of the January 2008 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine we printed two cards for you and your spouse. We encourage you to cut out these cards, laminate them, and place them in your wallet or purse so that you will have the information with you at all times. In an emergency, you may not have the time to return to your motorhome to obtain this contact information. Always carry your MEDEX cards with you and write your FMCA membership number on the card, for you might not be able to recall it during a stressful situation.
Fortunately, my story was just an example of what could happen to me or you while traveling 100 miles or more away from home. Whether Sharon and I are traveling in our motorhome or by some other method, the MEDEX PLUS Program purchased for members by FMCA covers us in an emergency that requires emergency assistance and/or transport. Please become familiar with this benefit and be prepared to use it should the need arise.
For more information about this program, see page 122 of the January 2008 issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine or visit the Membership channel on FMCA.com. To request a brochure, contact the Member Services Department at FMCA, (800) 543-3622 or e-mail email@example.com.