Your long-awaited holiday overseas should not be remembered for all the wrong reasons, like falling ill or having an accident that necessitates you requiring medical treatment. The stress of facing exorbitant medical bills and not having the funds to pay for them will certainly turn any dream holiday into a nightmare.
Of course if you had taken out a travel insurance policy with emergency medical benefits that cover repatriation and evacuation, the stress of facing eye-watering medical costs that hospitals abroad are so notorious for, will be taken off your shoulders before you boarded your flight out of South Africa.
The cost of receiving medical attention while on holiday will not only weigh heavy on your mind but on your wallet as well.
Most often travellers do not have the extra money to cover for these unplanned and unexpected medical expenses. Without the security of travel insurance in place, covering these costs could certainly put you in debt.
The ‘it will not happen to me’ syndrome is least helpful when medical emergencies like an insect bite or blister burn or an ear infection lands you on the doctor’s examination table and with a bill that runs into thousands of Rands.
Popular holiday destinations in the USA, Europe and in Asia have strict requirements when it comes to holidaymakers paying for medical treatment. Most medical centres require an upfront payment or a guarantee that the treatment will be paid for before even receiving it. Your stress is compounded multiple times over when see what even a simple procedure has cost you.
Cost of medical treatment abroad
According to research provided by Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance, in 2014 Spain appeared as the number one country where British tourists received the most medical help and where the average cost of treatment was £1,194 (or the value of R 21 786.98 today).
The USA which reached the number three spot, after Greece, had the average cost of receiving medical treatment at an eye-brow raising £2,851(or the value of R 52 023.20 today).
In Thailand the cost was £1,363 (or the value of R 24 871.81) and Australia, £727 (or the value of R 13 267.99 today).
Should you happen to have an accident in a remote area and need to be airlifted to an adequate medical facility, the cost of evacuation would be much higher.
What is clear is that the cost of medical help abroad f(without travel insurance) far exceeds the price you would have paid for a travel insurance policy with an extensive array of benefits.