Aussies hit with overseas medical bills as high as $100,000

Kelly Emmerton

Friday 02 September 2016

After conducting research into the potential costs of a medical emergency overseas, travel insurance provider InsureandGo reported that Aussies could wind up footing medical bills into the hundreds of thousands if they travel uninsured.

Aussies hit with overseas medical bills as high as $100,000

Unsurprisingly, the US topped the list for most expensive medical bills, with small procedures priced at around AU$1,700.

“Sickness or injuries happen to the best of us, and the cost of medical procedures overseas can be significant when compared to the costs you’d expect in Australia,” said Jonathan Etkind, Commercial Manager of InsureandGo.

“We’re fortunate in Australia to have Medicare and reasonable medical costs for common health issues, however, something as innocuous as an upset tummy could set you back financially if you find yourself stranded on an overseas holiday without travel insurance.”

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Etkind mentioned various cases in which InsureandGo customers were left facing sizeable bills after falling ill or having accidents overseas, including a 12 year old boy who was struck down with appendicitis while on holiday in Hawaii. His medical bills came in at AU$20,000.

Similarly, a 75 year old woman travelling in the US tripped and ultimately needed hip replacement surgery - which racked up a bill of AU$100,000.

Compare these medical bills to the cost of a travel insurance policy with unlimited medical coverage, which could cost as little as $37.41* per week for a trip to America, and it’s hard to see why Aussies would skip travel insurance when they go abroad.

But it’s not just the US that’s a high cost destination for Aussie tourists running into medical problems. An Australian woman holidaying in Spain was diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage after suffering from nausea and a headache, treatment for which wound up costing AU$77,000.

For travellers to Europe, an insurance policy with unlimited medical cover could cost just $26.57* a week.

“In all the excitement of booking a trip, travel insurance is often the last thing people think about before they depart,” said Etkind. “However, it’s incredibly important travellers don’t forget about purchasing travel insurance before they leave.”

So if you’re heading off on an overseas trip, don’t forget to swing by our travel insurance comparison tool first to weigh up your travel insurance options and find a policy that gives you the coverage you need at a competitive price.

*Prices are correct at the time of writing and represent the lowest available according to Mozo's travel insurance comparison table, based on a single traveller, 25 years old over a period of 7 days.

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