Frequently asked questions
and our answers

Who is the IFA?
The IFA is a large organization that specializes in repatriating and transferring patients around the world. The IFA – a registered association in Germany – has ensured the well-being and absolute satisfaction of its members for over three decades.

What services are provided by the IFA?
When a member experiences a medical emergency, the IFA immediately organizes their safe and fast transfer back home. Anywhere in the world, around the clock.

Who is entitled to these services?
An individual membership covers a single individual, whereas family membership includes protection for spouses or partners (living at the same address) and children aged up to 25 years if they live in the same household and do not earn their own income.

Am I only protected on holiday, or on business trips as well?
IFA members are protected on all personal and business trips.

Is this entitlement limited to a single trip?
No, IFA members are insured all year round – regardless of how often and how long they travel for.

What if I want to travel for a long period?
Entitlement to IFA services is valid regardless of the duration of your trip or the destination.

Are IFA members only protected in foreign countries?
No, the IFA also covers domestic transfer costs in the event of a medical emergency.

Am I also covered if I am taken ill (for example with food poisoning), or is repatriation only available after an accident?
IFA members are protected in the event of a medical emergency (after hospital admission) regardless of whether the emergency was caused by an accident or by illness.

I have a chronic illness (for example heart disease, diabetes or asthma). Can I still become an IFA member?
Of course you can. Existing medical conditions do not disqualify individuals from IFA membership.

Is there an age limit for IFA membership?
No. The IFA protects its members regardless of age and without a difference in membership fees.

When does my entitlement to IFA services begin?
Members are fully entitled to the IFA's full range of services after their membership declaration is signed and returned to the IFA (by post or fax). After applying for membership, our members receive a personal membership card ("emergency card") within a few days.

How do I pay my membership fees?
Members do not need to transfer fees themselves. When the membership fees are due for payment, they will be transferred automatically from bank account you have specified.

How can I cancel my membership?
IFA membership can be cancelled in writing (by letter, fax, or e-mail) with a 24-month notice period.

Are membership fees tax deductible in Germany?
Although the IFA is a charitable association, it is not technically a non-profit organization under the terms of Germany's taxation law. The IFA will gladly provide you with a membership fee receipt, which you can declare as an expense on your tax declaration in Germany.

Aren't repatriation costs covered by statutory health insurance in Germany?
No, according to the Federal Social Security Court (file number 3 RK 75/77) and the law as stipulated by SGB V 60.4 (German Social Code, Volume 5), statutory health insurance does not have to cover these costs. Even if the patient is in a life-threatening condition!
The reason for this is: As many do not travel abroad on holiday, repatriation costs cannot be imposed on all members of society. If an individual can afford to travel abroad on holiday, they can also afford appropriate insurance.
 This demonstrates the importance of IFA membership and protection!


Is extrication (primary rescue) covered by statutory health insurance in the event of a ski accident?
Airlifts to the local hospital (for example in Austria) must normally be paid for privately. The IFA also covers these transportation costs for its members. Hospital treatment costs are usually covered by your international health insurance cover.


Is there a limit to the repatriation costs that the IFA will pay?
No, the IFA will pay all repatriation expenses (from the foreign to the local hospital), without limitation. An expert medical team organized specifically to meet the patient's needs is on hand during the flight to care for the patient.


How is repatriation organized in the event of a medical emergency?

  1. Notification: call to the emergency center
    Firstly, the emergency center is alerted by telephone by the patient, the patient's next of kin or a first responder* of the patient's details, details of the illness or injury, the address of the hospital, and the doctor responsible.
    * You should always carry your emergency card with you so that details of your IFA membership and the services available to you can be found easily by first responders.
  2. Information from the IFA medical team and consultation with the doctor abroad
    After immediately receiving these details, the IFA medical team clarify the diagnosis, recommend repatriation, and establish the suitability of the patient for transportation in consultation with the doctor abroad.
  3. Organization of the transfer
    The type of transfer (whether by helicopter or ambulance jet, for example) by the IFA's partners and the schedule are then specified.
  4. Organization of in-flight medical care
    An individual team of specialist doctors (and medical technicians) is organized for the flight. The on-board medical equipment is checked, and changes or additions are made where necessary to meet the specific needs of the patient (e.g. special cardiological equipment).
  5. Repatriation
    The patient is transported from the foreign hospital to a hospital in the patient's home country, where further treatment is then determined and arranged.

How will I be transported back home?
Depending on the degree of urgency and the distance involved, the IFA organizes immediate transfer, usually via an ambulance jet. We avoid group transportation and the disadvantages that it brings with it for the patient due to multiple take-offs and landings, and long waiting times (which can occur with other organizations such as the ADAC).

Where will I be transported to after repatriation?
The IFA organizes transfer to the most suitable hospital in the vicinity of your home.

Can my partner or children fly back home with me?
Yes, one person may directly accompany you home as far as is possible.
We will always arrange transportation for your partner/spouse, children, and any pets travelling with you.

What will happen to my car if I am repatriated?
The IFA will organize collection of your car and your luggage.

What happens if I die in a foreign country?
The costs for transporting a deceased patient are also covered by IFA membership.

Can I always contact someone in an emergency?
Yes, our emergency center is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Ms. Pia Meyer or Ms. Margarete Walz.