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Australian travelers' Health Insurance Question

For our Australian friends, how do you cover yourself for medical costs when traveling to the US? Is there coverage under your regular system, or is supplemental insurance necessary?

Posted by
383 posts

@ Stan

A good question.

My wife and I will be flying in to Detroit on 17th May to stay with friends in northern Michigan area until 12th June.

Our government urges us to purchase comprehensive health insurance for ones time in the USA. https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/americas/united-states-america

The policy I have chosen for our insurance, costs $700 per week while in the USA.

Stan. Hope that helps you.

Regards Ron

Posted by
8641 posts

Thank you Ron, this is very helpful. Welcome to the US where a broken ankle can bankrupt you.

Posted by
4473 posts

Tassie Devil $700/wk is insane but yes charges here are ridiculous. My insurance company was billed $1000 for a 15 min well visit with primary care(not specialist) doctor! Of course, the insurance company only paid them $200 but if you don't have insurance, you'll be charged that ridiculous amount.

EDITED: As is the case with universities, part of the problem is the proliferation of highly-paid administrators who do nothing useful and make life more difficult for doctors.

Posted by
600 posts

Smart Canadians have known for decades to not cross the border, even for the day, without having emergency medical insurance. Unfortunately some haven’t heeded that advice and start Go Fund Me campaigns afterwards.

Posted by
1042 posts

Supplemental insurance is necessary. As my husband is over 70 it has become cost-prohibitive for us. AUD $400 per week for comprehensive insurance or AUD $170 per week for medical only insurance.

Posted by
8641 posts

Thanks all. Someone I know (US) was being told the insurance would be >$3,000 USD, for her Aussie guest for a week, and I suspected a scam.

Posted by
7013 posts

I think it's pretty expensive for UK guests as well to come to the US, isn't it? I met a woman outside Kew Gardens who traveled to the US quite a bit in the past, and she said the cost of health insurance to come to the US is really outrageous. It's such a shame. And it's a shame for our own citizens.

Wendell Berry (one of the most important writers of modern times, imo) once said, "I believe that the problem here is again that of the medical industry's fixation on specialization, technology, and chemistry. As a result, the modern "health care system" has become a way of marketing industrial products, exactly like modern agriculture, impoverishing those who pay and enriching those who are paid. It is, in other words, an industry such as industries have always been."

Posted by
383 posts

@ Stan

The $3,000 could be correct. We do not know age or current health issues of person.

For instance, Australian Chubb website offers healthy single 79-year-olds (max age allowed ) AUD$821 pw in USA, which, prima facia, includes unlimited medical expenses but a $250k limit on evac back to Australia. I speculate that if 80 plus one would need to consult an insurance broker. There are many other insurance businesses offering policies, though I doubt many approaching this age have a year or two to read the fine print and exclusions.

Over this age or with difficult health issues the insurers risk increases and so the premium. If available at all.

I can afford the premium. Price I am prepared to pay to live in Tasmania.

Apologies as a bit late with this. Currently enjoying my vacation with a few days in Agerola, Italy above the Amalfi. Much more fun than clacking away at a keyboard.

Regards Ron

Posted by
8641 posts

Thanks for the additional info Ron. Yes, the person in question is > 80. I decided to stay out of the discussion. I am saddened that we Americans put up with this obstacle.