Many people dream of living the island life, and while it can be amazing, it also comes with it’s own set of challenges. One of the drawbacks to living on a small Caribbean island like St. Croix is the limited medical services available, especially in times of a major emergency. So, what can you do to be proactive and give yourself peace of mind that you’ll have access to any necessary treatment you need in the event of an accident or serious illness? We recommend signing up for a prepaid medical emergency transportation service like MASA Assist.
It’s not uncommon residents of St. Croix to know someone who has had to be airlifted off the island. St. Croix has traditional ambulances offering Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and our hospital has an emergency room and qualified doctors and nurses to treat traumas. However, it’s sometimes necessary to transport patients to a bigger hospital due to the lack of treatment facilities, specialists, and/or equipment available here on St. Croix. In cases like these, you’ll most likely have to travel by air ambulance.
An air ambulance provides emergency transportation and includes all the required EMS medical equipment, as well as medical personnel aboard to assist patients during transport. From St. Croix, an air ambulance can take patients to Puerto Rico, Miami, and further, if needed. But, air ambulance transportation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and there are often requirements that you must have medical insurance, and have proof that you will be able to pay the cost of the air ambulance, before you can be transported! That’s where programs like MASA (Medical Air Services Association) come in.
MASA is the premier prepaid medical emergency transportation company in the world, and a local favorite. They often have a plane available on St. Croix for emergency air transport, and always have a fleet of planes on standby in Puerto Rico available to serve St. Croix in short order. Plus, MASA has qualified and experienced medical crews, pilots, and support staff on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition to having no claim forms, no deductible, no age limits and no dollar limits per flight, MASA has a number of great benefits for their members. For example, MASA pays for their patient’s return flight home after treatment; they will pay for a family member’s flight to visit a patient that has been hospitalized away from home for more than 7 days; they will fly the member’s spouse or other family member or friend to accompany him/her in the air ambulance; and, much more.
MASA Assist has several affordable plans depending on where you want to be flown in the event of an emergency, and they have both individual and family plans available. Here on St. Croix, Annaly Insurance Company is our MASA designated partner. You can call, stop by their office in Gallows Bay, or visit their website for a MASA brochure and application form. While we hope you never have to use the service, it offers great peace of mind to know that you and your loved ones can be airlifted off the island quickly in the event of a medical emergency – without putting yourself in financial jeopardy. As always, stay safe and healthy St. Croix!
-Jennie Ogden, Editor