Australian travellers beware: Overseas medical bills can reach $1 million

Aussies are continuing to be caught out while holidaying in the US and Travel insurer Cover-More warned if you require lengthy hospitalisation, a medical bill could approach $1 million.

A simple case of appendicitis and a two-night stay in a New York hospital could skyrocket to more than $75,000 and even a visit to an ER department for a minor cut that may need stitches could set you back $7,000.

Cover-More’s marketing Manager Zac Brookes explained that the US health care system is complex and can be confusing for Australian travellers because it is so very different to our own. “There is no price regulation or limits to how much a medical provider can charge for their services in the United States, unlike here. You will even find major differences between what two hospitals will charge for the same treatment in the same city.”

“You’re charged for everything. Your medical bill will usually contain an itemised bill for every single treatment and item of medication you receive, even a simple headache tablet.

Smartraveller advised Australians to take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart Australia. “Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you will be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy.” Search Mozo’s travel insurance hub here to find the right cover for your vacay.

Brookes said that while Australians generally understand the importance of travel insurance there are still too many Australians who have a “she’ll-be-right” approach about their health and the health of their finances when they go overseas on holidays.

“We believe that about 25% of Australian travellers, one in four, head overseas without travel insurance. Our message is pretty clear. Just don't do it.”