High prices for Brits’ treatment abroad

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Travel insurance

Following on from the Association of British Insurers’ (ABI) news that medical bills for UK travellers’ emergency treatments abroad are at an all-time high, we bring you further statistics from over-50s travel insurance provider Staysure, revealing some of the most expensive countries in which to have the misfortune of requiring medical treatment

According the Staysure, the average medical claim in 2018 cost £1,580, which as the company rightly pointed out, ‘could see the cost of a holiday in some cases double or even triple, if cover wasn’t purchased before jetting off’.

So, what are the ailments that cause costs to skyrocket, and where are travellers’ wallets often hit the hardest?

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Staysure revealed that suffering a heart attack was by far the costliest of any condition, setting holidaymakers back an average of £8,104 in medical expenses. Emphysema and strokes came second and third in terms of costliness, amounting to an average of £5,686 and £5,500 respectively. And holding up the torch for the ragtag bunch of insufferable conditions, gastroenteritis was named the most claimed for ailment in 2018, which cost people an average of £852.

In terms of pricey medical locations, holiday hotspot Spain played host to 34 per cent of all medical claims in 2018, making it the destination with the most medical claims that year. Tying for second place, both Greece and the US each made up 10 per cent of Staysure’s medical claims. And Staysure noted that the US can also be one of the costliest destinations to receive medical treatment – the average cost of which came in at £9,941.

That all being said, the travel insurer did manage to glean some more pleasant statistics from its exclusive price index, citing New Zealand as the cheapest country in which to make a claim, with an average cost of £614.

“Suffering a medical emergency abroad can be a scary experience and, as our figures reveal, it can be costly too!” said Ryan Howsam, Chairman of Staysure. “Knowing that you’re properly covered, and your insurance company will handle the situation for you, gives immense peace of mind at the worst possible time.”

Howsam detailed that the new Financial Conduct Authority proposal due to come in soon – which will require insurers and brokers to refer customers who have had their cover cancelled or denied to a list of specialist providers that can offer them affordable cover – would prevent customers from suffering costly medical bills.

Furthermore, TV doctor, Dr Hilary Jones, who Staysure brought onboard to help raise awareness of the new campaign, also offered his advice to Brits planning a trip abroad: “When travelling overseas, it's worth being prepared ahead of departure … In my own experience, I have found doctors abroad often take a blunderbuss approach to simple problems like insect bites and tummy upsets, giving injections where, really, fluids and tablets would suffice, which could result in hefty medical bills!”