GoCompare Travel, an arm of comparison website GoCompare, has warned those travelling to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia to ensure they have travel insurance to avoid the risk of large medical bills should they become injured or unwell.
The World Cup will begin on 14 June and, according to estimates, up to 10,000 people will be travelling from the UK to Russia to watch at least one of the England matches. Although UK citizens used to be able to access Russian state medical care via an EHIC, this is no longer the case. Instead, UK citizens requiring treatment are usually billed at the point of treatment delivery and then claim back the expense on their travel insurance, minus any excess.
GoCompare Travel said that having good insurance takes a load off travellers’ minds, as they don’t need to fret about whether they can afford to be treated at one of Russia’s more modern private hospitals, which may be necessary given that Russian state healthcare has a fairly poor reputation.
“All fans heading to Russia for the World Cup will be looking forward to enjoying a fantastic festival of football and hopefully avoiding a trip to Russian A&E. However, accidents happen, and football fans are just as susceptible to falling ill abroad as any other holidaymaker, whether they're in Moscow or Malaga,” said Georgie Frost, England fan and Consumer Advocate at GoCompare. “Since 2016 the EHIC has provided no benefits to UK visitors to Russia so it's up to travelling fans to make their own medical care provision, and that means having travel insurance with a good level of medical expenses cover.”
Frost also said that a credit card may come in handy to settle any medical bills before a traveller claims on their travel policy when they get home. “Just make sure you receive an itemised bill to show your insurers what you're asking them to pay for along with any other information they require to process a claim,” she said.