It’s one of those annoying old adages spruked by our parents before we embark on travel; “you must have travel insurance… you know what happened to (so-and-so)!” But as nit-picky and tiresome as the advice may seem, figures coming out of the US alone might make you reconsider just how much you shrug your shoulders to it.
The US health system is a shocker… particularly for any Aussie travellers who happen to get caught in it. It is not uncommon these days for a not-so lengthy stay in a US hospital to cost an Australian patient somewhere in the region of $1 million AUD…. that’s the average price of property in Sydney.
Data drawn from claims paid out by travel insurance provider, Cover-More, indicates that a simple trip to an American emergency room and a few stitches could cost an Australian patient up to $7,000. Shocking, right? It gets worse. If you are struck by appendicitis and require, say, a two-night stay in a US hospital… you could be up for $75,000 in medical bills. And that is nothing compared to the $300,000 you would be expected to fork out for a stint in intensive care.
Cover-More spokesman, Zac Brookes, says the worst of these incidents involved two Aussie tourists who each required month-long hospitalisation. Each of their bills neared $1 million.
America’s insane healthcare costs come down to classic American hatred of regulation and love of so-called freedom. This freedom grants US hospitals the right to charge whatever they like for their services. Each hospital is run like a business and each sets its prices accordingly. And they’re pretty astute. You’ll even find a simple paracetamol tablet charged to your invoice. It’s all about profit and this hits travellers hard (not to mention actual US citizens). God bless America, right?
Look, if you haven’t got yourself travel insurance in the past you’re not alone. An estimated 25% of Australians jet-set without cover. But, at least if you’re heading to the US of A, be sensible and get yourself covered. The 100 or so dollars it will cost you is worth it, if not for the (let’s face it) millions you might save in medical bills, then for the peace of mind it will you give you (or, at least, your parents).