The average cost of hospital treatment in a foreign country has climbed to £2,040 over the last 12 months according to an analysis of new research by Sainsbury's Travel Insurance. This is an increase of 6.25% year-on-year. The supermarket is urging holidaymakers to ensure they invest in good quality travel insurance so that, should the unthinkable happen, they are not left to foot expensive medical bills themselves.
According to an analysis of travel insurance claims in 2009, the most expensive country for inpatient hospital treatment was the United States, with the average hospital visit costing £6000. This is 10 per cent more than the previous year (2008). The most inexpensive country analysed, in which to fall ill and require hospital treatment was Bulgaria, with the average visit to hospital costing just £500, a five per cent increase year-on-year.
Scott Gorman of Sainsbury's Travel Insurance says, "The message is clear, if you do not protect yourself by taking out a comprehensive travel insurance policy then you could be left facing bills that run into the thousands. In countries such as the United States the cost of medical treatment can be extortionate - for example suffering a heart attack and then having to pay for repatriation could cost in the vicinity of £50,000."
Greece was the country where more holidaymakers required hospitalisation than any other, in 2009. This was followed by Turkey. The most common reason for hospitalisation over the summer months (May to September) was gastroenteritis with the average bill for inpatient treatment of £1200. The most expensive hospital bills were for those unfortunate enough to suffer a heart attack abroad, resulting in medical expenses that averaged £12,500. Outpatient treatment in a hospital costs from £450 for treatment of a head wound to £275 to treat an ear infection.