Travel is always fun. You are going to experience new things and meet interesting people, almost regardless of where you go. Most of the time, you return home after a trip feeling refreshed and ready for anything.
But, every now and again, things can go wrong. You can have an accident or go down with an illness at any time. That includes when you are hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. So, traveling without adequate travel health insurance is never wise.
Most Americans are not buying medical travel insurance
Yet, despite this fact, increasingly, Americans are choosing to do so. According to the latest research by the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTiA), 94% of US travelers are not buying medical travel insurance. That is up by 40% on the last time they carried out similar research.
Why many Americans are not using medical travel insurance
On travel forums, you can still see people posting horrible stories of how they ended up racking up tens of thousands of dollars in treatment and repatriation fees. Often, part of the problem is that they had assumed that their US health insurance fully-covered treatment abroad. In reality, in many cases, it provides zero coverage.
Others had bought a travel insurance policy without reading it. They had assumed it covered them for medical treatment as well as things like lost luggage. When, in reality, it did not. Or if it did, the coverage levels were woefully low.
The true cost of traveling without proper medical emergency insurance
With medical costs rising throughout the world, even a relatively small incident can cost thousands to get sorted out. For example, in Singapore, the average cost of just one ambulance ride is $350 (sometimes more). If you break your leg and cannot get into a taxi, you have to pay that bill.
In addition, each x-ray costs around $60. The doctor’s time is circa $20. You will then have to pay for crutches and some sort of cast. Plus, in all likelihood visit the hospital again and pay for the consultation, and any further x-rays and casts. Add in the cost of the taxi to get there and the cost of breaking your leg can easily reach $600 to $900.
Remember, that is the price in a country where many medical procedures cost up to 70% less than they do in the USA. If you break your leg elsewhere in the world, the bill will be much higher.
If you are very unlucky and need a heart bypass to save your life, the bill is huge. Even in Singapore, it would cost $25,000 for the operation, plus the cost of your hospital stay and drugs. Should you want to return home before you are fully recovered you would also have to pay tens of thousands in medical repatriation fees.
You can find further information about the cost of medical treatment while abroad, by clicking here. But, as you can see, it really is worth looking seriously at buying medical travel insurance the next time you travel, whether that is nationally or internationally.