STUART VARNEY, GUEST HOST: If you are a paying member of Medjet Assistance (search), and are injured, they'll fly to wherever in the world you are and transport you to the hospital of your choice. Of course, if you're not a member, be prepared to pay some big bucks.
Joining me now is Phillip Morris, executive vice president of Medjet Assist.
Phillip, have I got this right? I pay $205 per individual, $325 per family, per year, and you, if I get injured, and I'm hospitalized overseas, you fly out there and you bring me back home to my doctor and my hospital?
PHILLIP R. MORRIS, EXEC. V.P. MEDJET ASSISTANCE: That's right, Stuart. We provide that on an annual basis like AAA. And that's the analogy that we use many times. AAA for the body.
VARNEY: I've got to tell you, it seems awfully low cost to me. I'm looking for the catch here. Let me ask you, do I have to be hospitalized? Do I have to be hospitalized?
MORRIS: You do. You have to be hospitalized, or at least meet in-patient criteria for hospitalization. Many times, we pull our members from the emergency departments at a hospital that are not officially admitted, but they are going to be admitted once they get back to the hospital of their choice.
VARNEY: What happens if I'm injured in a war or a civil war or a terrorist attack or an invasion of some kind? Not an act of god, not a natural disaster like a tsunami, but a war situation?
MORRIS: Well, that's a good question, because we do protect many film crews and things like that, that are in these areas. We have one war exclusion in our program, but no terrorist exclusions, which I think is very important these days. We're one of the very few that has no terrorist exclusion in our program.
So, if you are the victim of a terrorist attack, we still will get you back to the hospital of your choice.
VARNEY: Do I get a private jet or do you put me on a commercial airliner?
MORRIS: Well, that depends on the acuity, the level of illness or injury to the member, but I would say more than 95 percent of the time, Stuart, we dispatch private medical jets to get our members back to the hospital of their choice.
VARNEY: How many members do you have?
MORRIS: Right now, we've got an excess of 75,000. I'd like to refer to us as sort of a boutique assistance company, but we're growing very rapidly. And we're very proud of the growth.
People are realizing that they do have a risk, and these things happen more often than not. The tsunami, obviously, was catastrophic. But you know, even minor illnesses or injuries happen even here in the states. And people need to realize that just because it hasn't happened to me is not necessarily an indication that it won't happen to them in the future.
VARNEY: Well, you bring up a good point. I mean, I live on the East Coast. Supposing I'm a member and I get injured in a car accident, for example, on the West Coast. Do you fly it me back to my doctor and hospital on the East Coast?
MORRIS: Exactly. And that's a good example. We're one of the very few, if not the only program, that provides medical evacuation within the United States.
As I was mentioning to someone this morning, for instance, it may not be medically necessary or appropriate for you to move from the West Coast to the East Coast, but it certainly is very convenient, because your family, your friends, your support network, your hospital and, of course, your personal physician is a place that you want to get back to.
And we provide that. Typically the same day you call, we get you back to the hospital of your choice.
VARNEY: Let's not get too technical and picky here. But supposing I'm overseas, I get injured. I'm a member. I'm with my wife. She's not a member. Does she fly back with me, or is it just me?
MORRIS: No. We typically will bring back one to two family members along with the injured party. Typically the members are traveling either with a spouse or significant other or just a traveling companion. And they typically will always come back, unless they choose not to on the private jet with the member.
VARNEY: I would guarantee that there are a lot of people caught up in this tsunami who wish they were members of Medjet Assist. Phillip Morris.
MORRIS: The calls that we have gotten have been obviously people who didn't have protection, and the calls were very expensive, in excess of $150,000. And some of the people called us, because they went to our Web site at www.medjetassist.com and got our number and would call us to see what we could do. And we do help people out on a private pay basis, as well.
VARNEY: A hundred and fifty thousand dollars, but not if you're a member. Medjet Assist. Thanks very much for joining us, sir.
MORRIS: Thank you for having me.
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