Think that travel insurance isn’t worth it? Think again

How much does a hospital bed cost in the 20 most popular destinations for Australian travellers – and how good is the healthcare when you get there?

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Important:

Travel insurance rules continue to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working hard to keep up and make sure our guides are up to date, however some information may not be accurate during the pandemic. It’s even more important to double-check all details that matter to you before taking out cover. Please know that some policies may not be available through Finder at this time. Here are some helpful tips:
    • If you're buying a policy today, it's unlikely that you'll be covered for any coronavirus-related claims
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    Travel insurance is often an afterthought. An additional expense. An annoyance. But when the proverbial you-know-what hits the fan, it can be a real money saver. Just how much would it cost you if you had to pay for a hospital bed while overseas? And how good would the treatment you get actually be?

    How we worked this out

    We analysed 10,000 anonymised travel insurance quotes submitted to finder.com.au to identify the most popular destinations for our users. Then for each of those countries, we identified hospital costs, based on WHO Department of Health Systems Financing (2011) estimates. Those figures are likely to be on the low side, since they only represent the "hotel" component of hospital costs, which means drugs and diagnostic tests may need to be paid for as well.

    The WHO figures are in international dollars (I$), which is a hypothetical unit of currency with the same purchasing power parity as the US dollar. We converted this to the value of the Australian dollar during the same period.

    Finally, we used our travel insurance quote comparison tool to calculate the cost of a policy for a two-week journey to each destination for a 35-year-old traveller. Each destination produced over 40 quotes. We took the average cost of all the policies, basic through comprehensive.

    The Top 20: Hospital bed costs and travel insurance costs

    DestinationCost of a hospital bedCost of travel insuranceDifference
    United States of America$751.06$102.57$648.49
    Indonesia$39.64$68.55-$28.91
    United Kingdom$564.34$79.42$484.92
    Thailand$91.89$72.89$19.00
    New Zealand$390.95$57.84$333.11
    Canada$603.99$99.64$504.35
    Italy$482.87$82.09$400.78
    Vietnam$25.66$72.89-$47.23
    Singapore$893.34$72.89$820.45
    France$517.35$82.09$435.26
    Japan$507.49$79.06$428.43
    Fiji$47.15$59.34-$12.19
    China$66.00$74.76-$8.76
    Germany$561.44$82.09$479.35
    Spain$486.55$82.09$404.46
    Malaysia$179.81$72.44$107.37
    Philippines$34.01$72.89-$38.88
    India$27.30$73.83-$46.53
    *Hong Kong$721.53$74.76$646.77
    Netherlands$671.13$82.99$588.14

    *Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China was not included in the WHO Department of Health Systems Financing (2011) estimates. Cost for hospital bed was sourced from The Hospital Authority (HA) https://www.ha.org.hk/haho/ho/cs/v3/serviceguide_feenchg-en.htm

    Which country has the worst healthcare rating?

    Money isn't everything, especially when it comes to your health. Even with travel insurance, you don't want to get stuck in a country with a poor healthcare system. So we extended our analysis of the 20 most popular destinations to assess the quality of the medical system, based on four key measures:

    • International SOS ranking. The International SOS ranking gives a medical rating to a country based on numerous factors including: access to prescription medication, administrative, cultural and language barriers, the presence of infectious disease, and the standard of medical and dental care. These factors are ranked on a scale:
      • Large rapidly developing countries. Refers to developing nations with disparate levels of healthcare: well-developed in major cities but almost non-existent in rural areas.
      • Low risk. International standard of care throughout the nation, with high standards of emergency care and low risk of infectious disease.
      • Medium risk. Varying (high to low) levels of standard international heath care available. Reasonable emergency services and minor risk of water-borne diseases.
      • High risk. Nations with limited medical services. Basic emergency and dental care. Serious risk of infectious diseases (e.g. dengue fever or typhoid). Limited access to prescription medication.
      • Extreme risk. Healthcare systems that are either overtaxed or virtually non-existent. Limited to no emergency services, with the risk there is no access to prescription medications. High degree of risk for contracting an infectious disease.
    • WHO World Health Report ranking. The most recent World Health Report Health systems: improving performance (2000) assessed the performance of national health systems.
    • ABS departure figures. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) release monthly figures for short-haul overseas departures of Australian residents.
    • Travel advisory. A governmental warning provided by smartraveller.gov.au, which provides safety advice for Australians venturing overseas.

    How do the countries stack up?

    United States of America

    Cost of a hospital bed$751.06
    Cost of travel insurance$102.57
    Difference$648.49
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking37
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)1,056,900
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Guide to travel insurance for the USA

    Indonesia

    Cost of a hospital bed$39.64
    Cost of travel insurance$68.55
    Difference-$28.91
    International SOS rankingLarge Rapidly Developing Countries
    WHO World Health Report ranking92
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)1,207,600
    Travel advisoryExercise a high degree of caution

    Find out more about getting travel insurance for Indonesia

    United Kingdom

    Cost of a hospital bed$564.34
    Cost of travel insurance$79.42
    Difference$484.92
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking18
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)595,900
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Benefits of travel insurance for the UK

    Thailand

    Cost of a hospital bed$91.89
    Cost of travel insurance$72.89
    Difference$19.00
    International SOS rankingMedium Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking47
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)600,400
    Travel advisoryExercise a high degree of caution

    What you need to know about getting travel insurance for Thailand

    New Zealand

    Cost of a hospital bed$390.95
    Cost of travel insurance$57.84
    Difference$333.11
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking41
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)1,324,400
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    A guide to New Zealand travel insurance

    Canada

    Cost of a hospital bed$603.99
    Cost of travel insurance$99.64
    Difference$504.35
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking30
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)132100
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Getting travel insurance for Canada

    Italy

    Cost of a hospital bed$482.87
    Cost of travel insurance$82.09
    Difference$400.78
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking2
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)196,300
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Vietnam

    Cost of a hospital bed$25.66
    Cost of travel insurance$72.89
    Difference-$47.23
    International SOS rankingLarge Rapidly Developing Countries
    WHO World Health Report ranking160
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)252,800
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    How to find the right travel insurance for Vietnam

    Singapore

    Cost of a hospital bed$893.34
    Cost of travel insurance$72.89
    Difference$820.45
    International SOS rankingMedium Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking6
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)394,400
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Guide to travel insurance for Singapore

    France

    Cost of a hospital bed$517.35
    Cost of travel insurance$82.09
    Difference$435.26
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking1
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)163,800
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Learn more about travel insurance for France

    Japan

    Cost of a hospital bed$507.49
    Cost of travel insurance$79.06
    Difference$428.43
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking10
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)285,300
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Need travel insurance for Japan? A guide to getting cover

    Fiji

    Cost of a hospital bed$47.15
    Cost of travel insurance$59.34
    Difference-$12.19
    International SOS rankingMedium Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking96
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)363,400
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Finding the right travel insurance for Fiji

    China

    Cost of a hospital bed$66.00
    Cost of travel insurance$74.76
    Difference-$8.76
    International SOS rankingLarge Rapidly Developing Countries
    WHO World Health Report ranking144
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)441,000
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Get the right travel insurance for China holiday

    Germany

    Cost of a hospital bed$561.44
    Cost of travel insurance$82.09
    Difference$479.35
    International SOS RankingLow Risk
    WHO ranked health systems25
    Australian Travellers Past Year (ABS)105700
    Travel AdvisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Spain

    Cost of a hospital bed$486.55
    Cost of travel insurance$82.09
    Difference$404.46
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking7
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)66,800
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Malaysia

    Cost of a hospital bed$179.81
    Cost of travel insurance$72.44
    Difference$107.37
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking49
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)296,500
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    A guide to travel insurance for Malaysia

    Philippines

    Cost of a hospital bed$34.01
    Cost of travel insurance$72.89
    Difference-$38.88
    International SOS rankingLarge Rapidly Developing Countries
    WHO World Health Report ranking60
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)222,000
    Travel advisoryExercise a high degree of caution

    India

    Cost of a hospital bed$27.30
    Cost of travel insurance$73.83
    Difference-$46.53
    International SOS rankingLarge Rapidly Developing Countries
    WHO World Health Report ranking112
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)299,400
    Travel advisoryExercise a high degree of caution

    Find the right travel insurance for India

    *Hong Kong

    Cost of a hospital bed$721.53
    Cost of travel insurance$74.76
    Difference$646.77
    International SOS rankingLarge Rapidly Developing Countries
    WHO World Health Report rankingNot ranked
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)237,000
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    Hong Kong travel insurance guide

    Netherlands

    Cost of a hospital bed$671.13
    Cost of travel insurance$82.99
    Difference$588.14
    International SOS rankingLow Risk
    WHO World Health Report ranking17
    Australian travellers past year (ABS)37,700
    Travel advisoryExercise normal safety precautions

    A full listing of countries to come.

    Compare international travel insurance quotes

    warning Finally, some good news! Domestic travel is picking up, so some insurers have started offering cover again 🦘
    Just remember, you won't be covered for any pandemic related claims if you do take out domestic travel insurance.
    International travel insurance is limited and sometimes unavailable at this point.

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