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Cost Of Getting Ill Abroad Without Health Insurance

Health insurance claims

Cost of Claims

The most common and expensive health insurance claims across the world

Medical emergencies are stressful at the best of times, but when you’re travelling and in an unfamiliar country they can be especially disruptive. Whereas you might be aware of the healthcare system in your own country, while abroad you may not know what help is available, and whether you’ll be charged through the roof for it.

For this reason, it’s incredibly important to have proper international health insurance in place while on your travels. This safety net removes the worry and angst that might plague you in the event of illness and ensures that you will receive appropriate treatment for your ailment.

As healthcare provisions can vary wildly from country to country, as can the potential health hazards, we wanted to find out which countries see the most health insurance claims in 2021. We were also keen to reveal the types of medical emergencies that are most commonly claimed for in each country, as well as the average value of these claims.

Healthcare insurance claims around the world

Here we can see the countries where the average value of each claim was highest. These claim values indicate what the individuals who were ill would have paid for treatment had they not had insurance to cover the costs.

1

Denmark

Average Claim Value:

US$7,328

Denmark has by far the highest average claim value of US$7,328.46, indicating that international health insurance is incredibly important not just for protecting your health but also your wallet.

However, as there were only three individual claims made in Denmark, this high cost may not be indicative of the overall range of medical emergencies that could befall you while travelling in the country.

Second place Taiwan has an average claim value of US$3,878.71 from a total of US$50,423.20 split across 13 separate claims, while Qatar took third place with an average claim value of US$2,900.08.

Select Currency:

Rank

Country

Total Claims

Total Amount Claimed

Average Claim Value

The most expensive health insurance claim types

This section focuses on the various types of claims that can be made on your health insurance. Rather than focusing on all of the different specific illnesses that you may need to claim for, we have grouped them into categories for a simpler overview and comparison.

We’ve found out the number of claims made in 2021 for each category, as well as the total value of these claims, to figure out the average value of claims from each category.

1

Medical Evacuation

Average Claim Value:

US$13,470

Medical evacuation is the most expensive category you can claim for on your health insurance, with the average claim sitting at a huge US$13,469.66. Medical evacuation is only done in very serious circumstances and would not be affordable to the average traveller if they had to pay out of pocket, therefore it’s incredibly important that you are covered for this, especially if you’re venturing far from major cities into inhospitable or challenging terrain.

The next most expensive category is pregnancy complications and emergency procedures, which refers to any issues you have with your pregnancy while travelling, including the need for an emergency c-section. The average costs for claims in this category is US$11,453.22, so it’s definitely worth being covered as these claims are not issues that can be put off for another time. After all, the health and wellbeing of a mother and her unborn child are incomparably important, so extra care must always be taken if you or someone in your party is expecting.

Select Currency:

Rank

Claim Category

Total Claims

Total Amount Claimed

Average Claim Value

Most common health insurance claim categories per country

In this section, we take a look at the different categories of healthcare insurance claims that were made in 2021. We’ve found the most common category in each country, so you can see the sort of things people claim for in your favourite travel destinations.

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Country

Most Common Claim Type

Number of Claims

Total Value

Most common illness claimed for per country

We now focus-in on specific illnesses and claims, rather than looking at broad categories. Again, we can reveal which of these is the most commonly claimed for in each country, so you can have a better idea of the issues that people face when travelling internationally.

Select Currency:

Country

Illness

Number of Claims

Total Value of Claims

Average Claim Value

Illness with the highest total claim value per country

This section looks at the illnesses that had the highest total claim value in each country in 2021. Whether they were the most common claims, or were simply the most expensive, claims for these illnesses saved our customers the most money in each country.

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Country

Illness

Number of Claims

Total Value of Claims

Illness with the highest average claim value per country

Last but not least, we consider which illnesses had the highest average claim value in each country. These claims help us to identify the illness that, on average, would cost you the most money if you were travelling without appropriate health insurance.

Select Currency:

Country

Illness

Number of Claims

Total Value of Claims

Average Claim Value

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The most common claim types in

Australia

Most common health insurance claim categories

Most common illness claimed

Illness with the highest total claim value

Illness with the highest average claim value

Making sure you are fully covered when travelling abroad

If you are planning to travel internationally, then you need to ensure that you are sufficiently insured. You may already have some form of travel insurance, but you should double-check what it covers and whether that includes illness and disruption caused by COVID-19. If you travel without international health insurance, then you could be landed with a huge bill in the event of a medical emergency.

Insurance details

When you travel, make sure you have a copy of your insurance details with you and have the contact information of your insurer close to hand. This will make life much simpler in the unfortunate event that you need to make a claim.

Time

You might also want to consider how long you are planning on staying abroad, as this can affect the type of insurance you require. Different policies provide cover for varying lengths, so if you’re only going to be abroad for a short time, you won’t need a full year’s cover.

Health conditions

Additionally, consider your current health condition and the lifestyle you intend to lead while abroad. These factors will help you decide on the level of cover that is right for you. For example, if you or your partner is pregnant or you’re trying for a baby, additional cover may be a good idea.

Fully covered

The most immediate benefit of being fully covered is that you can get on and enjoy life without the nagging worry of what if something happens. If you’re covered, then there’s nothing to worry about.

Methodology

We wanted to find out which countries have the most healthcare insurance claims, and which medical emergencies are the most expensive in different parts of the world. To do this, we used William Russell’s own internal data to analyse the claims that were made in 2021.

We split this data by country, category and specific illness to highlight a range of stories and reveal some of the riskiest countries to visit if you fall sick or are prone to illness and do not have appropriate insurance.

We also used Government information to inform our short guide to making sure you’re covered when travelling abroad.