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Who is unreasonable? Issue with older person travelling uninsured in Europe.

(126 Posts)
shovetheholly Tue 22-Nov-16 09:38:52

I don't have a stake in this argument - I'm very much a bystander. Submitting it to the Mumsnet hive mind for consideration.

Adult 1 is older, (70) has a stent in his heart and mobility problems. He is awaiting surgery for the latter. He can still get out and about, however, and enjoys a fairly active retirement. He is decently well off and wants to travel. However, he is appalled at the cost of travel insurance. As a consequence, he is thinking of going abroad to Europe uninsured. His point of view is that the EHIC will limit the potential cost of any accident to around £10k and he can afford to pay this should something happen. He has a tendency to regard insurance as 'tempting fate' and insurance companies as a rip off.

Adult 2 is younger (44). He thinks Adult 1 is wrong that the cost of any treatment would be limited to £10k. He believes that the premium is higher because an accident or emergency is more likely, and that travel insurance ought to be bought to cover potential costs, particularly given that the price is affordable to Adult 1. Adult 2 is generally risk-averse and cautious with money.

Who, in your opinion, is right?

Parietal Tue 22-Nov-16 09:40:43

adult 2

cost of bringing someone injured in europe back to the UK in an air ambulance would be well over £10K and not covered by EHIC.

SemiNormal Tue 22-Nov-16 09:40:58

I think Adult 2 has the more sensible approach but Adult 1 is old enough to make own decisions and should be left to it.

TwitterQueen1 Tue 22-Nov-16 09:42:20

If A1 is wealthy enough to afford to pay up to £10k in medical costs, he's being completely stupid! He should spend significantly less and just buy the insurance.

And what about the possibility of being sued by someone else in the event of an accident that was A1's fault? Let's say he falls down the stairs for example, on top of someone else who breaks a leg and happens to be a dancer... [Ok, I know, it's very unlikely but you get my point I hope]. ...

specialsubject Tue 22-Nov-16 09:42:39

Adult 1 needs to look up the cases of Olivia fairclough and Stephanie inglis, who had accidents abroad while uninsured. Neither were in Europe but the examples still apply.

Medevac home even from france can be 20 and the ehic will not cover that. There is no magic 10k limit.

Tempting fate? Selfish primitive.

Seeline Tue 22-Nov-16 09:42:46

When you say he wants to travel, I assume it is more than just a two week break in Spain?
How long, and where?
Is he travelling alone?

Personally I would never travel without insurance. The EHIC card works differently in different countries anyway, especially in non-EU countries - would the itinerary take this into account?

specialsubject Tue 22-Nov-16 09:43:45

Tell adult 1 that if no insurance he will be left to rot or die from lack of treatment.because that is what it could come to.

PeachBellini123 Tue 22-Nov-16 09:44:38

I think it's crazy to go without health insurance. However my grandad did the same thing. He couldn't get insurance (or I should say it was too expensieve). Luckily he wad okay but it's pretty irresponsible.

shovetheholly Tue 22-Nov-16 09:46:30

Seeline - good questions, you're making me realise I need to give more info. Apologies - not trying to drip feed, I just left out some essential stuff:

- The travel is short term breaks, maybe 2-3 weeks each. Definitely within Europe, probably France/Germany up to maybe 4 times a year.
- Adult 1 would be travelling with his partner, who is roughly the same age but in better health.

LIZS Tue 22-Nov-16 09:48:07

2 . It isn't only about medical costs but if something happened he'd need someone to stay nearby and possible repatriation or additional travel costs. Ehic only covers the equivalent to a local person , and often medicine and clinic costs are chargeable.

Katiepoes Tue 22-Nov-16 09:50:42

If they are in the EU emergency treatment is covered. BUT - no support for anyone with them, no repatriation cover, nothing beyond the immediate medical costs. Adult 1 is being stupid and irresponsible.

Floisme Tue 22-Nov-16 09:51:18

I do sympathise with adult 1) - the cost of travel insurance with a controlled heart condition (and if he has a stent, it's controlled) is prohibitive. Some companies probably won't insure him at all.

However it sounds he could afford to pay but doesn't want to on a point of principle and that just seems silly. As someone has already said, what happens if he causes an accident?

BarbaraofSeville Tue 22-Nov-16 09:52:37

How much is his insurance, how often does he want to travel and how wealthy is he?

If his insurance is hundreds of pounds, and he could easily afford £10/20/30k for medical transfer home if necessary, he's probably right. It's just his own assessment of risk and choosing to self insure. He might have more money than he knows he can spend in his remaining life and is choosing to risk someone else's inheritence and inheritence tax.

Obviously if he doesn't have significant liquid assets and a big bill would cause him to lose his home, he is wrong and should either buy travel insurance or not travel.

GinAndTunic Tue 22-Nov-16 09:52:46

Adult 2 is correct.

ShanghaiDiva Tue 22-Nov-16 09:53:13

Adult 1 is a an idiot - google the cost of medical evacuation. I recently had medical evacuation by ambulance from my hometown in China to a larger city 4 hours away. Ambulance cost US dollars 3K excluding any treatment costs.

Toddlerteaplease Tue 22-Nov-16 09:53:49

I had a mishap with a mobility scooter in Lourdes of all places and the hotel made me pay for the (minor) damage to the wall. £300 up front. Fortunately my insurance company reimbursed me. So it's not just medical problems they cover.

BarbaraofSeville Tue 22-Nov-16 09:55:37

I now see he wants to make several trips. Has he looked at the cost of annual insurance rather than single trip, maybe looking at providers that specialise in impaired health or older people? Or would a bank account with included travel insurance work out cheaper. I think these are actually in effect a group policy for all the account holders, so the risk is spread amongst many people.

Seeline Tue 22-Nov-16 09:56:35

If he is travelling with someone (who may be insured?) I think he is being VU to expect them to sort out all the problems that may arise without having insurance.

That number of trips a year, for that duration, in all probability is likely to result in the need for some sort of medical care for someone in poorer health. Poor mobility could easily result in a trip/fall with serious consequences.

paddlenorapaddle Tue 22-Nov-16 09:57:23

Google the cost of medical repatriation print it off n show adult 1

It's irresponsible decent heart surgery can run into 100000k +

LunaLoveg00d Tue 22-Nov-16 09:57:37

It's a huge misconception that EHIC gives you free medical care in Europe. It doesn't. It gives you treatment on the same basis as a resident of the country concerned. Many French people have to pay up to 20% of their treatment costs, which could be considerable when you're dealing with cardiac issues. There's a flat 18 euros charge for being admitted overnight to hospital. Other countries don't consider ambulance charges part of essential medical care, and charge. Prescriptions might not be free.

Adult 1 is right in that EHIC will limit his costs. Adult 1 is also assuming that whoever is with him will tell medical staff that he has an EHIC and wishes to be treated as a state patient in an emergency - the private medical sector is much larger in many countries than in the UK and you never get private treatment with EHIC. Other posters are also right that EHIC will not cover getting you back to the UK on an air ambulance, or other costs like rearranging scheduled flights or accommodation for a partner to stay while you're in a foreign hospital.

As a young healthy person I wouldn't travel overseas without good travel insurance. We have EHIC too. As an older person with underlying medical conditions it's simply not worth the risk. I would be encouraging the 70 year old to look at specialist insurance brokers dealing with older clients, or those with medical issues.

Seeline Tue 22-Nov-16 09:59:19

Also whilst he may be able to afford the ££ needed for serious medical issues/medivac etc - are the funds immediately available to his poor partner who will need to sort everything if he is seriously ill/dead. It's the last thing are going to need to be worrying about.

blueskyinmarch Tue 22-Nov-16 10:01:34

My parents are in their 70’s DM has heart issues after a heart attack i 2014. She has a stent and is on lots of medication. DF has recently had bladder cancer, fairly low level, a few minor procedures and a bit of an ongoing issue with slight incontinence. They had a holiday booked to Tenerife in October. My DM found she was able to get insurance fairly easily but it was my DF who had issues with getting insurance, mostly because his treatment wasn’t quite complete. They did manage to get insurance but if they hadn’t there was no way they would have gone away.

It is possible insurance for adult 1 wont actually be very expensive anyway and it would be madness not to purchase it.

maddiemookins16mum Tue 22-Nov-16 10:05:06

Adult 1 is a fool. Having worked in the travel industry overseas for a number of years, I saw first hand the problems caused when people did not have insurance. One person I had to try and help said this to me "you're my rep, you sort it, get on to the British Embassy, I've paid tax for 50 years etc etc". Then there were the two lads severely injured in a moped accident (no shirts on when their moped went off a road in the wilds of Corfu), again no insurance and Greek hospitals in the 80's were not great believe me.

It's utterly selfish to travel with no insurance when you know you have a serious medical condition.

On the other hand, I had a lady with cancer (will never forget her), took very poorly in Cyprus, spent three weeks in a private clinic, excellent care and was repatriated on a private jet with two nurses and a doctor directly back to her local hospital. She had insurance.

MidniteScribbler Tue 22-Nov-16 10:09:19


I hope he doesn't expect to set up a go fund me page if he does get stuck with a big bill.

It's not even just about medical treatment. It's also legal cover if he gets arrested for something, or caught up in a crisis.

Petronius16 Tue 22-Nov-16 10:09:56

Madness, but it's his life and money.

Holiday with Saga, travel insurance is free and no age limit.

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