Our patented FoneTrac® travel safety app was developed by us over a 5-year period. The idea came from a client who told us that monitoring of travel itineraries wasn’t useful if their personnel crossed the US/Mexico border each day by car, or when they traveled to China and then used another itinerary, train, etc., to travel onward from their arrival point.
The system doesn’t monitor locations continuously for privacy/technical reasons, but each time a traveler presses the Check-In or Panic Alert button, we have an almost immediate and exact location. In the absence of a location, it follows that we cannot provide timely assistance, or it may be delayed. The system has also proved useful in the aftermath of a major event to account for persons who are believed to be in the vicinity.
As a FoneTrac option, we are now offering integrated UnitedHealthcare “SafeTrip” affordable medical assistance and evacuation coverage and we think this is essential (unless travelers have some other coverage.)
Travel “Assistance” vs. Travel “Insurance”
It’s worth mentioning that there’s a difference between “assistance” and “ “insurance”. It’s one thing to be reimbursed in the future for the cost of overseas medical treatment, but the main concern at the time is that the traveler may need immediate and appropriate care, relocation to a specific hospital, or repatriation, etc.
SafeTrip focuses on the medical assistance part (using its business unit — and our long-term business partner — FrontierMEDEX), including guarantee of upfront, sometimes cash payments (without which there may be no treatment provided in some places. (As you know, UHC is one of the world’s largest insurers so reimbursement is part of SafeTrip also.)
Using the Panic Alert button on FoneTrac connects to UHC’s Emergency Control room at which point UHC specialists differentiate between Security or Medical emergencies to enable the correct response. (FoneTrac has built-in contact numbers for security/medical advice in non-emergency cases.)