Cambridge’s Travellers Drastically Underestimating Healthcare Costs Abroad

iStock_000090052145_SmallDo you know the real cost of health care abroad? A recent survey by recently revealed that Cambridge’s travellers are drastically underestimating healthcare costs abroad.

It was discovered that half don’t purchase travel insurance, that US medical treatments are underestimated by up to £67,000 and Spanish medical treatments underestimated by nearly £22,000.

With the summer holidays just around the corner, new research* has exposed worrying disparities between the perceived and the real costs of holiday healthcare, as well as confusion over what the EHIC card actually entitles travellers to. In light of the findings, warns that many holidaymakers in Cambridge are potentially exposing themselves to crippling financial costs in the event of an accident or illness while away.

The research revealed alarming shortfalls when comparing 2,000 Brits’ perceived cost of treating specific medical emergencies in popular tourist destinations** against the actual costs*** of treating those emergencies.

When asked to predict the cost of medical treatment for a heart attack and repatriation to the UK from Spain, those polled in Cambridge estimated the cost to be £11,000 lower than the reality; an estimated average cost of £14,000 against an actual average cost of £25,000. A worrying statistic when treatment and doctor-escorted repatriation relating to heart conditions is one of the most common serious medical emergencies affecting Brits abroad in their five most visited countries**. Similarly, those surveyed in Cambridge thought the cost of treatment for a fractured hip and travel back to the UK to be just over £13,000, compared to an actual cost of £35,000 – a discrepancy of £22,000.

The disparities are even larger for non-European countries. For treatments in the USA, respondents thought the costs to treat the two medical emergencies to be £24,000 and £23,000 respectively – some £56,000 and £67,000 under what the actual costs are estimated to be. Overall, it appears that those in Cambridge are underestimating the cost of healthcare by between two and three fold.

The study, run in conjunction with Healix Insurance Services Ltd., revealed that half (46%) of those polled in Cambridge don’t purchase travel insurance every time they go away and one in 20 (5%) has never purchased travel insurance, revealing a perturbing scenario for many jetting off abroad.

Ant Clarke Cowell, Communications Director at, explains: “Travel insurance is often overlooked as an unnecessary purchase but healthcare is expensive, and in the event of illness or accidents holidaymakers can be dumped with unaffordable fees.

“One in 10 in Cambridge thinks the EHIC card covers the cost of repatriation flights in case of medical emergencies, 11% incorrectly believe the EHIC card entitles the holder to free private emergency medical care in European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and 15% think it covers cruises.

“It’s so important that travellers are made aware of the unnecessary financial risk while on holiday. The only way to protect yourself is to sort travel insurance in advance that offers cover for all of the activities you’ll be doing while away, and covers the countries you’re visiting. Ensuring you’re insured will also provide you with peace of mind, which is essential for any holiday!”


For more information on travel insurance, there is a wealth of information at

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