In Google, at press time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed up sixth in a list of search results for “medical evacuation insurance.”
Three companies had paid ads that showed up at the top, and two companies that got their sites ranked higher through old-fashioned search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Another eight companies had paid ads in a sidebar on the right.
The Google search results rankings matter this week because Ebola has suddenly put a spotlight on the potential value of solid medical evacuation benefits.
The benefits are available through some rich major medical policies, better travel insurance policies, many stand-alone programs, and air travel carriers. They are often little-noticed. When they are noticed, consumers may think they are aimed more at mountain climbers than at ordinary workers and tourists.
They got moments in the spotlight a few years ago, after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and after an earthquake devastated much of Haiti. Now the CDC itself is urging travelers who may visit areas affected by Ebola to find out whether they have adequate medical evacuation insurance coverage. On another page, CDC officials list International SOS and MEDEX as possible sources of information, along with government agencies and nonprofit groups.
CDC officials are starting to take questions about reports of a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas, a report of a suspected case in Dallas, and reports of two suspected cases in Washington, D.C., but, for now, most of the people known to have Ebola, or to be affected by the outbreak, are outside the United States.
Here’s a look at the five programs that come at the top of the list in Google search rankings performed in an “incognito window” that, apparently, sends little information about the users’ search history and preferences to the search engine.
MedJetAssist, the company that comes up on top, with a paid ad, is not an insurer. It’s an indirect air carrier that uses the services of other carriers to meet customers’ air ambulance needs.