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Air Ambulances and the Affordable Care Act

air-ambulancesA recent prediction by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offered some good news for the projected costs of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It’s now estimated that the ACA will cost just over $1 trillion over the next decade compared to the original projection of $1.2 trillion.

The CBO says the cut in the estimated cost comes from tighter controls by insurance companies that offer plans on health care exchanges. Because the plans on the exchanges pay health care providers less and have tighter management of treatment options it will lead to lower premiums and taxpayer subsidies.

But what does the Affordable Care Act mean for air ambulances? There are provisions written into the ACA that specifically cover air ambulances and what they could end up costing, or not costing you. The ACA allows air ambulance firms in rural areas to receive 2-percent more for covered Medicare services and 3-percent more in urban areas. That means the services would cost at least that much more had the ACA not been enacted.

As far as health care options for you, there are several choices and picking the right plan might get confusing. About a year ago an analysis of a Blue Cross/Blue Shield heath care plan. The study in March 2013 found that a typical plan would only cover an average of between $4,000-$5,000 for an air ambulance. Depending on your coverage needs that could only cover about one-third of the total bill.

Other plans in accordance with the ACA do offer more substantial coverages. The UnitedHealthCare packages cover air ambulances if transportation requiring basic life support is needed if it would take a ground ambulance 30-60 minutes or more to transport an enrollee if the person needs immediate medical attention. It also includes provisions if there are traffic or weather issues or if being transported by ground ambulances could injure the enrollee. The package does not list the limits on coverage, however.

It’s vital that you explore the different options in the marketplace if you might need air ambulances. Because packages vary so greatly it’s important to talk with someone so you can ask the questions you need answered. The ACA has created more health care options than ever before so knowing what is best for you will help you find the right plan.

At Travel Care Air we are the leading experts in air ambulances. Our air ambulances offer cutting edge technology and a staff that will take special care to meet your needs. We can also help you navigate your heath care plan to find out how air ambulances will factor into your bills. For more information and for more about our air ambulances and travel news and health tips please follow us on Twitter.

How to Avoid Jet Lag

air-ambulanceWhether you’re flying a long distance in an air ambulance or a commercial flight, a common side-effect of longer trips is jet lag. Most travelers want to make the most of their trip but fail to take into account the difference adjusting to a different time zone and the impact it will have on the body’s internal clock. Meanwhile your trip has turned into having to deal with insomnia, confusion, fatigue and other annoyances that are all attributed to jet lag. There are, however, methods to help you prevent or recover quickly from jet lag.

The first step to avoiding jet lag is to prepare your body ahead of time. Start a week out and adjust your schedule and routine by an hour each day. If you can gradually adjust to your new time zone before you step on the plane it will be easier on your body to handle. If you are traveling east try to get to bed earlier and if you are heading west start going to bed later.

Another great option to help avoid jet lag on an air ambulance or regular flight is to schedule an overnight flight. You can still have dinner at a normal time and you’ll be more inclined to sleep during the flight. Depending on the flight you’ll arrive at your location in the morning or afternoon, and it will be easier for you to reset your clock.

Sleeping on the plane is helpful for regular flights as well. It may be more difficult on a shorter air ambulance flight however if you are flying west to east doctors recommend trying to get some sleep to help your body deal with the stresses of flying. Sleeping aids may be helpful like blindfolds, ear plus or neck rests but be careful of using sleeping pills. Upgrading to bed seats can be a great investment on commercial flights.

Staying hydrated is another important way to avoid jet lag. Your medical staff will help you with this on an air ambulance however if you travel commercially it’s important to remember to opt for water over coffee or fruit juices. And drinking alcohol is never recommended on longer flights where you are changing time zones because it will make you more dehydrated and keep you from getting rest.

You should also treat your trip like you’ve already arrived in your destination. Simple mental obstacles to jet lag can be overcome by doing some small things to get yourself ready for the time difference. Set your watch or phone’s clock to the time zone that you will arrive in to help you mentally prepare. If you are arriving in the daytime try to stay awake during your flight if you leave in the daytime.

At Travel Care Air our staff is trained to help prepare you for whatever you need during your air ambulance flight. Our air ambulance crew can help you with any jet lag concerns you may have. For more information on our air ambulance flights and for more travel tips follow us on Twitter.

Disadvantages of Air Ambulance Brokers

air-ambulanceConsidering an air ambulance can be a confusing situation and you may find yourself in a rushed position, which only complicates matters. In some cases people who need an air ambulance book through a broker, only to find out they are being scammed or paying for a service when they could have went to the air ambulance company directly.

Let’s start with explaining what a broker does. Using a broker can help you locate an air ambulance service that will meet your specific needs. Most brokers have a relationship with several air ambulance companies and will do a lot of the conversation and over the phone things to set up an air ambulance for you or a family member.

Since the broker is basically a middle man, he or she does not own aircraft, and they may not necessarily know how air ambulance services work. The broker also doesn’t know the staff involved with the company and may not keep your preferences in mind. Typically a broker will take a call from you based on a referral from a hospital, doctor or even use the internet to attract business.

Using a broker for air ambulance services will not improve the quality either. A broker may not take the time to research an air ambulance company so even if you use a broker you will still have to do a lot of work to make sure you are booking with the right company. Once an air ambulance is booked the broker will add an additional fee to the final cost, leaving you on the hook for potentially thousands of dollars for work you can do yourself.

Another of the disadvantages to brokers is they leave your hands tied. You don’t have direct communication with the air ambulance services, nor the ability to know the quality control for you or your patient. When you deal directly with a company you will ensure the best rate for the services provided. Dealing directly with a company will also allow you to have any questions you may have answered by the provider itself. This direct communication and open line will build confidence that you are making the right decision.

At Travel Care Air when you call us you talk with us. We believe strongly in communication between us and our clients and we are a full service air ambulance company, not a broker, meaning we know our staff and our fleet. Travel Care Air can help save on your air ambulance if you call us directly instead of going through a broker whose primary concern is making as much money as possible. For more information on our air ambulance services and more tips on choosing the right air ambulance for you, follow us on Twitter.

Tips For Driving in Foreign Countries

international-air-ambulance-servicesA leading reason why people need our international air ambulance services is because they had a driving accident while visiting a foreign country. In today’s world it is easier than ever to rent a car in a foreign country however you can easily forget the cultural and geographical differences that await. Unfamiliar roads, street signs and signals are just a few obstacles you will have to navigate as a driver in a different land. By following our tips you can avoid accidents and the potential need for international air ambulance services.

One of the first things you’ll need to do before you get in your car is to get an International Driving Permit. Everyone who travels to different countries should have an IDP. If you have an IDP it will help you communicate with foreign authorities much more quickly and can be purchased for around $15 through AAA or other reputable sources.

Before you get in the car you should also familiarize yourself with the driving rules in the country you plan to visit. Study the signs that may be confusing to you so you’ll know what they mean when you come upon one. When I travel to an unknown land I will spend time looking at roads on Google Maps that give me an idea of the terrain so I know if there are any surprises ahead of time. You should also know the local rules and speed limits so you don’t get in legal trouble.

You should also talk with your insurance company and credit card companies to see if there are additional coverages you will need to purchase. If you know what coverages to purchase you can avoid being scammed by the rental car company, who will always try to sell the highest insurance package.

If you visit cities consider using a GPS system to help navigate you through busy streets. Using a GPS will help you avoid any distractions that may come if you need to constantly look at a map. If you don’t have a GPS system you can rent one. Also, look out for old parts of cities where the roads can be extremely narrow. Stick to larger, well traveled streets when possible and park and walk to explore the older parts of town.

Travel Care Air is the leading international air ambulance services provider. Our international air ambulance services are available around the clock, 365 days of the year. No matter where you are in the world you can count on Travel Care’s international air ambulance services to help in your time of need. For more information about our international air ambulance services and to learn more tips for traveling and your health join our growing community on Facebook.

Tips for Airplane Etiquette: Part 2

Our look at proper airplane etiquette continues with examples of what to do during the flight itself. Many people look to passengers with children as the number one complaint during a flight. However adults can be plenty rude themselves. This blog will help you avoid being the person that the rest of the members of your flight complain about.

Don’t Fight with the Attendants

There will be a time during your flight when you will have to go without your electronic devices. While many companies are starting to do away with this (mostly) absurd rule, the rule does exist for a reason. When the flight attendants tell you that you have to turn off your devices, do it. Remember they don’t make the rules but it is part of their safety process to follow them. Arguing with them will only delay the plane taking off.

Handle Your Children

As we noted above, children can cause a lot of problems for other passengers on the plane if you can’t control them and their behaviors. Bring plenty of activities for you children, especially on long flights to keep their minds occupied. Bring a variety as well, books, games, movies on laptops or tablets, etc. Children also tend to play or kick the seats. Try to walk your child around when you are able to do so during the flight to help them burn some of that energy and to allow them to stretch their legs.

If you are a passenger and dealing with issues from a child, talk with the parents, politely, before you go to an attendant. Most of the time parents will be able to handle the situation. If that doesn’t work you can ask a flight attendant to do something.

Don’t Invade Personal Space

If someone is talking to you but you prefer to be left alone, it’s not bad etiquette to tell them you are busy or tied to talk. Just don’t be rude. People have their own ideas about personal space so it is important to remember not to try to force anything. At the same time remember that some passengers are nervous fliers, and remember they may be talking to you compulsively to distract them.

If you like to sleep during flights try to find a window seat. You can stretch and use the wall to position yourself. If you are in a middle seat or an aisle seat it is more difficult to sleep. You may be woken up by someone if they need to get into the aisle.

Don’t Get Drunk

Many people like to have a few drinks before or during the flight to pass time and to socialize with friends while traveling. If you choose to drink before or during a flight make sure to know your limits. If you drink too much you risk annoying other passengers, smelling like booze or needing to get up to use the bathroom frequently. Drinking too much can cause unpredictable behavior and potential security problems for you and your other passengers.

Tips for Airplane Etiquette: Part 1

This week Travel Care Air is looking at how to properly travel. For many seasoned travelers a flight can be a hit-or-miss situation. Flights are mini-communities and sometimes in a community some people can be inconsiderate, whether they realize it or not. Sometimes fellow travelers will invade personal space, bring too much luggage or other annoyances. This week we will be taking a look at some tips for airplane etiquette. If you are a novice or a seasoned traveler this week’s blogs will help anyone that needs a little brushing up on how to fly properly.

Tip 1: Know Security Measures

Since 9/11 the security procedures at airports continue to evolve but if you think a few steps ahead you’ll do your part to help the line move quickly. Before you get to the x-ray machine remove everything from your pockets and put it in your bag that will go through the scanning machine. When you pass through the screening collect your items and move to an area out of the way so you don’t block anyone while you put your shoes and belt back on.

Tip 2: How to Carry Your Bags on the Plane

Make sure that you keep your bag in front of you as you walk down the aisle. Carrying your luggage over the shoulder shouldn’t be done (even if it’s a backpack) because you can bump into passengers who are already seated with your luggage.

Tip 3: Carry-On Luggage

Before you hit the airport be mindful of how you pack your luggage. Airlines are starting to crack down on the amount and sizes of carry-on luggage to save space. Because fees for checked bags carry-on space is at a premium. If you have more than one carry on bag, keep the other bag at the bottom of your feet so you only store one. Place your bag in the carry-on compartment horizontally. Use the overhead space above your seat only. If you need to move someone’s luggage, make sure you ask them first.

Tip 4: Be Mindful of Others

If you are in a three-seat row the middle passenger gets the armrests because whoever has to sit in the middle doesn’t have room to stretch their feet or rest their head. Either way one armrest per person is the general rule. If you listen to music or watch tv on a mobile device keep the volume on your headsets low enough where it won’t bother other passengers.

Tip 5: Watch How You Recline Your Seat

Keep your chair upright until you are allowed to recline. Know who is around you before you recline your seats. If you have someone tall, or someone holding onto a child behind you, consider only reclining a little, or not at all, or check with them to see if it would be ok.

Come back later this week and we will cover even more tips for airplane etiquette!

5 Steps to Overcoming Flight Fears

air-ambulancesIf you have a fear of flying you’re not alone. Millions of people all over the world list flying as their top fear. Air ambulances encounter extra-stressed out people for obvious reasons: If you’re not a fan of flying to begin with using air ambulances when you’re stressed because of an injury or illness can only complicate things. The good news is you can overcome your fear of flying by following these five simple steps.

1. Don’t be Afraid to Share Your Fears

When people contact us about needing one of our air ambulances we believe knowing as much information as possible about that person is vital to ensuring their comfort. If you can communicate to us your trepidations about flying we can do all we can to ensure your trip is as pleasant as possible. Remember don’t be embarrassed. What you need is support and when you’re in one of our air ambulances we will do all we can to help.

2. Understand Flying is Safe

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with enough information before you hit the friendly skies. Recent studies have shown just how safe flying is compared to driving. Statistics show that you are 500-1000 times more likely to suffer a fatal accident while driving than flying. For some people flying is a control issue. People feel safer in their cars because they have more control. But remember that when you’re in your car you don’t have control over the other drivers around you. In Canada alone, since 1970 there have been, on average, about 36.6 fatal events from flying per 16 million flights.

3. Find Distractions

This may not be as possible on air ambulances as it is on commercial flights, but it depends on your condition when you fly with us. Finding things to do to distract you from your trip may be the best medicine. Bring your laptop or tablet and fill it with a few movies to watch or games to play. You can even hold off doing hobbies you do as part of your daily routine (like the crossword puzzle) until you hit the plane. Even something as simple as listening to calming music can settle your nerves.

4. Avoid Coffee or Alcohol

This tip may seem contrary to what a lot of nervous fliers will tell you, but don’t drink coffee which will stimulate your nerves. Also, while many people think getting drunk is a good way to deal with fear of flying, it’s not the best option as your behavior could only add to the issues. Obviously you won’t do any drinking if you’re using one of our air ambulances, but if booze is offered on a commercial flight, pass.

5. Know What to Expect

When using air ambulances talk with the staff before your flight. Ask them questions to help you feel at ease. If you know what to expect it will ease your mind. Flights can change based on weather and the type of plane you fly on so ask as many details as possible so you understand what happens should you experience turbulence or any other common issues in the skies.

At Travel Care Air our air ambulances are equipped with a kind and helpful staff that will work with you to help you overcome your fears. If you’re in a position where you need one of our air ambulances to help you, don’t hesitate to call us because you’re afraid of flying. We will use all of our skills to ensure a safe ride and we will be with you every step of the way. For more information about our services like us on Facebook.

Is Travel Insurance Necessary?

air-ambulancesMany people who spend over a third of their time traveling on the road don’t buy travel insurance. Insurance is something most people view as an extra expense when unused, and a life-saver when it is needed. When our air ambulances are called to help a traveler it helps the family involved in bringing their relative home if they have traveler’s insurance. But if you are a frugal traveler you may be wondering if travel insurance is worth the investment or is the risk the more appropriate money-management technique for you?

In some cases your regular health insurance will cover you abroad. Before you purchase any additional insurance, see what you already have covered. Generally, Medicare patients are covered when they travel but you should always check the specifics of your package. Most coverages, like the Blue Card from Blue Cross cover you as long as you are in their coverage areas. In situations like this it’s important to speak with an agent or look at affiliated hospitals and websites in the countries or areas that you plan to visit. Make sure to ask questions if you have any doubt, no matter how small it may seem.

Travelers who buy travel insurance typically know if they will be more at risk than the average policy holder to make a claim. While avoiding travel insurance is always a risk, it’s more risky for someone traveling if they have a medical condition, or are older, than say a healthy person in their 20s taking a trip to visit friends studying abroad. With that said, even the most frugal traveler can afford insurance of some kind. Travel insurance can be as low as $80 for a standard plan with a reputable company. That’s a pretty good investment considering the consequences should something go wrong with your health.

If you are concerned about air ambulances you may need to check which policy you purchase when you travel. Travel insurance rates vary to you will have to read the fine print and ask your travel agent or healthcare provider if air ambulances are covered or not. Travel insurance is sold in packages with different categories and all of the options that are available can be a bit overwhelming for seasoned travelers and novice travelers alike.

Typically travelers may need air ambulances for emergency evacuations and without coverage you may be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars depending on where you are traveling. So if you travel to an especially isolated region ensuring air ambulance coverage is vital. Some examples of situations where you may need air ambulances could be if you visit an island during tropical storm season, if you enjoy hiking or mountain climbing in remote parts of the world, or if you need to visit less stable nations as part of your job or to visit family. In any case it is always important to have reassurances before you head out on any trip.

Types of Patients Served by Air Ambulances

air-ambulancesWhen people think of air ambulances they may only think about severe medical emergencies in remote areas. While our air ambulances can be used in medical emergencies when a hospital is not nearby there are a wide range of patients that we serve.

The most common patient transported by air ambulances is someone who needs to get to a hospital that is over 200 miles away, requiring medical attention along the way. Patients that need our help in this situation are usually on vacation and need to be flown home because of serious medical conditions. The patient could have become ill or had an accident while traveling or could have had a previous medical condition arise again at the worst possible time. Sometimes patients who travel would rather go home to their own hospital to receive care.

Not all of our clients have critical care needs. The reverse of the traveler who had a medical emergency is someone undergoing medical treatment that would like to be transported somewhere. Air ambulances can also be used by people battling medical issues that would like to take a trip to help with recovery. We receive requests all the time from people who want to travel but need to have medical care en route and during their vacation. Air ambulances in this case provide a vital service by allowing people who are ill the chance to live a relatively normal life.

Air ambulances also help people in need of all ages. Certain infants or the elderly may need to travel but cannot by normal transportation means. If an elderly person is moving to a different care facility across the country to be closer to family, air ambulances can provide transport and a full medical staff.

Sometimes the medical staff can accompany a patient on a normal commercial flight however air ambulances are usually used so the person can have privacy. Some commercial flights may not be able to transport a patient if the patient needs a stretcher. Air ambulances also offer the patient and family worry-free bedside to bedside services that commercial flights often can not provide.

Travel Care Air has a fleet of air ambulances equipped with the best equipment to serve you no matter what your needs. At Travel Care Air our staff understands how to make your flight as comfortable and safe as possible regardless of your medical needs. For more information about our air ambulances and to get health tips like us on Facebook.

The Air Ambulance: A History

air-ambulanceThe air ambulance has been around almost as long as there has been human flight. Like most medical services the origination and development of the air ambulance began in the military. Since its early concepts, shortly after the Wright Brother’s first flight, in World War I the air ambulance has seen tremendous growth and expansion into the civilian world. Today it is one of the most useful ways to assist people in need in rural areas and has contributed its part in improving the lifespan of mankind.

Most historians believe the first true air ambulance mission took place during World War I when a Serbian officer was flown in a French Air Service plane from the battlefield to the hospital. French records during World War I reported that the air ambulance cut the mortality rate of injured soldiers from 60% to 10%. The first official recorded air ambulance mission was in 1917 in Turkey when a British ambulance transported a soldier who had been shot to a hospital in 45 minutes.

Air ambulances continued to take off through the 1920s, however aircraft was still primitive at the time. Still the idea of the air ambulance caught on as the French and British both used them during wars in Africa in the 1920s. By the late 1930s Switzerland used the air ambulance to help rescue people injured participating in the growing winter sports like skiing. In 1936 the first organized air ambulance government service was underway when the wounded during the Spanish Civil War were transported to Nazi Germany for medical treatment.

By the time the United States became involved in World War II the USA had a full aircraft dedicated to air ambulance services. In April 1944 the US Army Forces transported injured British soldiers in the jungles of Burma. Overall, from April 25-26 four total return trips were made.

In the civilian world the air ambulance was experimented with early but businesses began to offer the service in a more organized fashion after World War I. The first known commercial air ambulance was developed to serve the Australian Outback in the late 1920s. The first United States air ambulance company, the Schaefer Air Service, was founded in Los Angeles in 1947. The service really took off in more remote areas of Canada through the 1940s and up to today.

By the Vietnam War the USA was using the Bell UH-1 helicopter. It was known as Huey and large enough to hold patients inside with medical personnel who could begin administering treatment while in flight. The Huey became a massive success as it reduced the average delay until full treatment to one hour.

The 1970s and 1980s saw rapid expansion of air ambulance companies in the United States as well as in Canada and Germany. Travel Care Air was founded during this explosion. The boom was created in part from government studies that showed the positive effects of the air ambulance as well as increasingly reliable and secure planes that could accommodate more advanced medical equipment.

Travel Care Air is the leading international air ambulance service provider. Our air ambulance is ready to assist you in your time of need no matter where you are located in the world or where you need to go. Travel Care Air will get you to your hospital of choice in a safe plane where you will feel as comfortable as possible, treated by some of the best professionals in the business. For more information about our service like us on Facebook.

Helping patients get there with care for over 30 years