As we age, our medical needs normally increase. However now findings from over-50’s travel company Saga suggest that many of us are taking risks by heading abroad without health insurance cover. Whilst the potential outcome varies by country, this does mean that many retirees are exposing themselves to potentially vast medical bills if they need treatment while away.
The costs of overseas healthcare is eye-watering. For example, Saga claim that the cost of an emergency flight from the Canary Islands can cost almost £20,000 – something that few people would be able to pay without extreme discomfort. Other countries are even more expensive for medical care; a similar flight from the USA would likely set you back more than double that cost; £45,000 is the fee quoted by Saga.
Bizarrely, while we reported recently that many young and healthy people would consider heading abroad without any kind of health insurance, the real shock is the number of retirees would follow suit. According to the statistics that asked over 10,000 holiday-makers about their health insurance cover, an astonishing 1 in 10 people with a known medical condition have still failed to adopt any form of medical insurance before heading abroad.
Perhaps those who travel without medical insurance are overly optimistic and assume they’ll never get ill while abroad. Perhaps they simply think of health insurance as a false economy and would rather save a few dollars here and there. Of course, this could well turn out to be a false economy. Apparently, over the last three years alone over half a million Brits have fallen ill while abroad. In such circumstances decisions start to be made on finances rather than health.
If we’re all honest, if we or a loved one fell ill while on holiday, we’d all like to make decisions about their treatment based purely on what will get them well as quickly and painlessly as possible. On the other hand, those who travel without travel insurance often don’t have that luxury. Instead, many decisions are made purely on monetary limitations.
However sadly even those who do have medical insurance before heading off abroad may be in for a nasty surprise. The findings suggest that 30% of retirees fail to actually check what a policy covers them for. Instead they simply compare the prices of different policies, often finding out too late that the reason a certain policy was so cheap was because of all the things it didn’t cover.
If you’re to avoid being one of those people in thirty who have taken out a travel insurance policy that doesn’t even cover you, it’s important to talk through your needs with a professional health insurance provider. Doing so will ensure that you get the cover that you need at a reasonable price.
And don’t just assume you’re covered because your bank has offered you free insurance as a perk of your current account. Get the documents and check them before travelling in case it’s necessary for you to increase or modify your coverage to ensure that you are fully covered.