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How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Old Feb 23rd 2019, 6:42 am
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Question How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Hi,

My wife, son and I are going to be traveling to the UK and Ireland for a 3 week trip soon. We have great health insurance in the USA and will be covered by that insurance if we have to have emergency medical treatment while abroad, but the health insurance will not cover things such as medical evacuation or repatriation. We also have good trip cancellation and lost luggage insurance with one of our credit cards, so we're already covered for those things too. I was thinking about getting some cheap medical travel insurance to cover medical evacuation and repatriation, which will also provide some primary coverage for any emergency medical issues. I found a cheap policy from Trawick International for $50. It only has $50,000 medical coverage but does cover up to $100,000 for medical evacuation and $50,000 for repatriation. Other policies from the same company can be bought to increase the medical coverage: $65 for $250,000 medical coverage, and $75 for $500,000.

I understand that the NHS in the UK "might" try to claw back some costs from us if we had to visit a doctor or hospital there, but I was not able to find any information about how much that might be. Also, I understand that Ireland has a mix of public and private hospitals and it's unclear which hospital we might have to visit. In my mind, private hospital = $$$$$$$, so we might want more coverage if the worst was to happen and we'd need to visit a private hospital in Ireland.

I am fairly risk averse, so if I was to decide right now, I'd probably opt for the $500,000 policy for total peace of mind for the sake of $25. However, I wondered if folks here had other opinions.

Thanks,
Jon
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 9:16 am
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

My opinion is the same as yours - the upfront cost difference is negligible, but the back end difference if the worst happens is massive. I'd go with the highest level of cover.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 11:14 am
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Originally Posted by civilservant View Post
My opinion is the same as yours - the upfront cost difference is negligible, but the back end difference if the worst happens is massive. I'd go with the highest level of cover.
+1

That $25 for the extra cover is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Primary care (GP, walk-in centre, A&E) is free of charge for all in the UK, even visitors. Any secondary care (think hospital bed) will need to be paid for by a visitor.

That being said the peace of mind is probably worth the $25 alone if your credit card doesn’t cover you.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 4:58 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Either amount should be sufficient. The company in question has many bad reviews. I would research thoroughly before purchasing. I would look for other options to compare.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Originally Posted by cautiousjon View Post
My wife, son and I are going to be traveling to the UK and Ireland for a 3 week trip soon. We have great health insurance in the USA and will be covered by that insurance if we have to have emergency medical treatment while abroad, but the health insurance will not cover things such as medical evacuation or repatriation. We also have good trip cancellation and lost luggage insurance with one of our credit cards, so we're already covered for those things too. I was thinking about getting some cheap medical travel insurance to cover medical evacuation and repatriation, which will also provide some primary coverage for any emergency medical issues. I found a cheap policy from Trawick International for $50. It only has $50,000 medical coverage but does cover up to $100,000 for medical evacuation and $50,000 for repatriation. Other policies from the same company can be bought to increase the medical coverage: $65 for $250,000 medical coverage, and $75 for $500,000.

I understand that the NHS in the UK "might" try to claw back some costs from us if we had to visit a doctor or hospital there, but I was not able to find any information about how much that might be. Also, I understand that Ireland has a mix of public and private hospitals and it's unclear which hospital we might have to visit. In my mind, private hospital = $$$$$$$, so we might want more coverage if the worst was to happen and we'd need to visit a private hospital in Ireland.

I am fairly risk averse, so if I was to decide right now, I'd probably opt for the $500,000 policy for total peace of mind for the sake of $25. However, I wondered if folks here had other opinions.

Thanks,
Jon
If your health insurance covers you worldwide for emergency treatment, where is the financial risk especially in the UK where primary care and emergency room would be covered by the NHS? If you're worried about medical evacuation, try and find a policy that covers just that. Personally, I never take out travel insurance but may start doing as I get older to cover any evacuation risk.

Last edited by Giantaxe; Feb 23rd 2019 at 5:30 pm.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
If your health insurance covers you worldwide for emergency treatment, where is the financial risk especially in the UK where primary and emergency would be covered by the NHS? If you're worried about medical evacuation, try and find a policy that covers just that. Personally, I never take out travel insurance but may start doing as I get older to cover any evacuation risk.
It’s the hospitalisation or any surgery that you may require where the bills would really start to rack up.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 5:30 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
It’s the hospitalisation or any surgery that you may require where the bills would really start to rack up.
And the OP's US health insurance would presumably cover that in an emergency situation...

Last edited by Giantaxe; Feb 23rd 2019 at 5:39 pm.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 5:43 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Originally Posted by Giantaxe View Post
And the OP's US health insurance would presumably cover that in an emergency situation...
I wouldn’t be so sure.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 6:00 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Originally Posted by BritInParis View Post
I wouldn’t be so sure.
It's been the case for every employer-provided insurance I've had in the US. "Emergency" means more than "emergency room". But I certainly agree checking the level of one's coverage abroad is important before making a decision as to whether to take out additional insurance.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

Thanks for everyone's replies! I understand that using our US medical insurance is possible, but everything will be considered out-of-network, which has a not insignificant cost sharing component if we were to make a claim. I have found another travel policy offered by Atlas International, which gets an average rating of over 4.5 / 5 on several reputable review websites. I'm looking at a policy costing $75 that will give us $500,000 medical coverage plus coverage for medical evacuation, repatriation, trip cancellation and lost luggage.
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Old Feb 23rd 2019, 7:40 pm
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Default Re: How much medical insurance coverage necessary for a UK and Ireland visit?

20 years ago the UK norm for Travel Insurance was GBP1m but it was going up to GBP5m.
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