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Rural Medical Care: Going the Distance with Supplemental Insurance

You’re putting your home on the market, and moving to the country.

Perhaps you dream of starting a hobby farm, or you simply want to be near the best bass fishing spots. For those who work remotely, as more and more people are able to do, or those pursuing an active retirement, the idea of living in a charming small town is an appealing and often affordable prospect.

You imagine friends and family coming to visit, treating your home as a vacation hideaway where they, too, can enjoy the fresh air, outdoor activities and quaint little village you now call your hometown. You tell yourself (and them) that multiple connecting flights and long drives from the nearest municipal airport aren’t a problem, that the destination is worth the trip.

Rural living tends to be less expensive than city or suburban life. Property taxes are lower, and retail and grocery costs are limited by what local economies are able to bear. What you can’t get locally is available with just a few mouse clicks.

Medical care, on the other hand, is another story.

Emergency Transport

How far away is your nearest trauma or advanced critical care center?

Those who retire or live in rural areas likely live in medically underserved communities. Large towns might support a small hospital with general emergency and health care services, but patients suffering trauma, stroke or cardiac arrest require expedited transfer to better-equipped hospitals, often by way of emergency air transport.

Take a close look at your health insurance plan. All too often, ambulance transport is only covered to the nearest emergency facility, leaving the insured to pay the difference. Beyond that, you might need to travel between hospitals in a ground or air ambulance that provides skilled medical assistance.

Does your insurance policy cover ground ambulance transport to and from airstrips and appropriate landing sites? How many air or road miles does your plan allow you to claim? These distances, if they’re covered at all, might be limited by a mileage cap.

The average air ambulance trip is 52 miles and costs between $12,000 to $25,000 per flight. —National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)

Before you decide on your country home, grab a ruler, a roadmap, and a phone book. Make some calls to learn about the medical and ambulance services serving your intended community, and read the fine print on your insurance policies.

When seconds count, you want the fastest available transport to appropriate healthcare facilities. When you’re selecting your slice of heaven, be sure that emergency transport services are available…and that you’re covered if you need to use it.

Ongoing Care

Emergency transport isn’t the only travel-related expense you’ll encounter in your rural lifestyle. Should you require advanced or specialized treatment, how far away will you need to travel for ongoing visits? Will you need to book a hotel room for you or your family members while you’re there?

Serious illnesses that require long-term hospitalization or frequent trips for treatment means more dollars paid out-of-pocket for fuel, meals, hotel stays, and vehicle maintenance. In addition to your own loss of income, if you live in a rural area, you’re more likely to need a loved one (who will also miss work) or a paid caretaker to help you with your journey.

Once again, your insurance policy may only compensate care at or travel to the closest specialist or health care provider, without any coverage for your supporters. That care might be in the next largest town, while better facilities and specialists are in the nearest metropolitan area.

Holding Down the Fort

If you and your loved ones are off in the big city, who is looking after your property? Rural winters can be harsh, and if you’re laid up at home or checked into a hospital or convalescent care, you might not be able to rely on neighbors and family members to keep the driveway plowed, the pipes thawed and the pets or livestock fed. During warmer months, you might need to hire out help for chores or maintenance projects you’d otherwise undertake yourself.

People who live in rural areas take pride in self-reliance. Small communities tend to rally around their neighbors, but serious illness or accidents underline the fact that sometimes, we all need extra help.

Supplemental insurance might just fit the bill…or, at least, cover the bills your current insurance won’t.

How Can Supplemental Insurance Help?

Don’t rely solely on your existing medical coverage to insulate you against all medical costs, and don’t let limited health insurance plans prevent you from pursuing your dreams. Supplemental insurance will help you cover out-of-pocket expenses related to serious illness or injury wherever you live.

Emerge is an online brokerage service ready to help you find the right policies to protect your peace of mind, your best chances at recovery, and your life savings, whether you live within a mile of the best medical facilities or fifty miles from the nearest clinic.

 

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