North East Holiday Makers Risk Huge Medical Bills

30 July 2014, 10:59 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Two fifths of people in the North East are at risk of huge medical bills abroad because they've not taken out travel insurance.

New research by Bupa Travel Insurance has found one in ten people in our region don't bother taking out insurance before they go abroad because they say it's too expensive.

16% of people in our region who travel without insurance said they don't bother taking out cover because they have an EHIC, yet only a quarter of people were correctly able to identify what it actually covers them for.

When asked,  37% believed that having an EHIC meant the NHS would cover the full cost of their treatment whilst abroad.

A heart attack in the US can cost a foreign national upwards of £30,000 and whilst this may be an expensive example, the bills add up no matter what your illness.

Josh from Chester-Le-Street went on holiday to America in 2011.

He hurt his hand out there and had to pay £500 in medical nills.

He told us:
"It wasn't like I could do anything about it.

If you're in that situation you've got to pay. And I know it was my fault that it happened.

It's very very cheap - maybe £10 or £15. And for the sake of that amount of money it's worth it to know that you'll be covered if anything does happen."

In the North East:
* 16% don't always take out travel insurance when travelling abroad.

* 37% think their EHIC means the NHS covers the entire cost of their medical bills.

* Just over one in ten (12%) said they don't take travel insurance because it's too expensive, with 11% not doing so because they have an EHIC.