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Banged up abroad: global medical costs you won’t believe

From a bout of the bends to a ghastly spell of gastro, there’s no telling where or when you may require medical aid on your travels. What’s certain is that it’s likely to cost a bundle!

Anyone who’s sustained an injury or suffered an illness abroad knows it – getting laid-up on foreign terrain can very quickly upend your dream holiday plans.

And if you’re of the frame of mind that ‘it won’t happen to me,’ think again.

Consumers lodge 200,000 travel insurance claims each year and approximately half of these are for medical expenses.

“The cost of seeking medical treatment overseas can land you in a world of pain,” director of Travelinsurance.co.nz Natalie Ball said.

“From a $25,000 hospital bill for a broken arm in Japan, to a staggering $800,000 fee for pneumonia treatment in the USA, medical expenses abroad can easily send you into financial ruin.”

Some of our best loved destinations pose their fair share of costly health hazards.

South-East Asia is prone to a high incidence of food-poisoning and road collisions, while medical care in the US is notoriously expensive.

Even destinations with reciprocal health care benefits can catch you out. Costs not covered under the scheme such as repatriation, ambulance call outs, medical prescriptions and optical and dental services can all add up, leaving you substantially out of pocket.

And then there are secondary expenses such as flight changes or additional accommodation and meal costs for a medically-enforced extended stay. Even the cost of flying a loved one out to be with an injured policyholder is one you may not consider.

“Never underestimate the true value of travel insurance when it comes to medical cover,” Ms Ball said.

“Without it, you run the risk of going into thousands of dollars of debt. Our simple infographic displays some of those immense costs reminding you just how much you stand to lose without travel insurance.”