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Travel Medical Insurance for Europe

Looking for a little advice from anyone who has traveled to Europe and interacted, dealt with or required medical assistance/services while traveling in Europe, specifically Switzerland and/or Italy.

I am looking to purchase travel medical insurance for our upcoming trip this fall and am curious what the general costs are for medical care ? I know this is kind of an 'open-ended' question however, would say a $25,000 per traveler policy be sufficient for most ailments and associated treatment ?


Posted by
23343 posts

Most report have to do with scraps, bruises, and maybe a broken bone or two. All have reported very reasonable if not cheap fees and sometimes no fees. Probably $5000 would be more than adequate. My major concern is if I had a really serious injury or health issue that would require evacuation back home and perhaps quickly. In that case $25,000 might not be enough. I carry a year around policy that will get home the quickest way possible if I am more than 500 miles from home. My max is a $100,000.

Posted by
729 posts

My Priority Health insurance plan provides really comprehensive coverage overseas. It includes repatriation, and even assistance with lost baggage. Definitely check with your insurance to make sure you actually need to purchase anything.

Posted by
3391 posts

My husband developed a kidney stone one summer when we were staying for several weeks in the Dolomites up in the Italian Alps. Not fun. It's quite an epic tale but, to make a long story short, he ended up with an ambulance ride and a visit to the local hospital where they did an ultrasound and we had a consultation with a doctor who prescribed meds and explained, with a pad and paper, what the problem was. We felt a little silly once we knew what it was - we thought he was having an appendicitis attack - but were thankful that it wasn't life-threatening!
The actual cost, including the ambulance ride, was quite negligible. They sent us a bill and we just paid it. Being from the US we were shocked at how little it was. If I remember correctly it was less than $400.
What you need to worry about is serious illness or injury where medical evacuation may become necessary. If you go on you can compare lots of different companies that specialize in travel insurance by putting in your specific requirements.

Posted by
271 posts

So here is my experience.

  1. Alone. Medical care for HACE in a hut just below 4000m by an 'off duty' doctor. Medicines, although limited, were provided free of charge. Sort of a, "Hey! Anybody got D and N???" thing.

  2. Three of us, my wife and I and our 3 or 4 year-old. Medical care for Strep. Engelberg. I was about to die (proverbially), had taken to leaning my head out the car's window, and had given over driving to my wife. We arrived at the doctor's office, filled out the registration papers (the front of a piece of 5x8 in paper), and were motioned over to the waiting area. In about 5-7 mins the doctor arrived back from a home visit and we were told to go back with him. Awesome, smiles. Uh-oh. There was a mix-up, they felt really bad, but we would have to wait a few minutes. Another patient went back and came out less than 7-10 mins later. We were invited back by the doctor. The examination room was also his office. Once HE, not the nurses, ran the test he told us about Strep, explaining everything. Then he went across the hall with us, literally the door opposite his office door, and he got three medicine boxes, wrote doses etc. on each one, and ushered us back to the front. 45 minutes from coming in the front door to going out the door, at about $145. All medicines were included. Seriously my best doctor's visit ever.

  3. Same visit, so-to-speak, later that day for our 3 or 4 year-old with strep. Same experience at about $137.

  4. All three of us a few days later at the doctor's office on the bottom floor of the Luzern train station on a Friday night around 10:00 pm. Yep, Friday night in a (relatively) big city for my wife with Strep. In and out in under 45 mins. All info, tests, and medicines taken by, administered by, and then handed to me by the doctor herself. Amazing. About $140.

  5. All three of us, now with a 5-1/2 year-old. Possible broken arm from a playground fall for the Kinder. Outlying Zurich hospital. 4 hours (the doctor was I surgery). They didn't THINK it was broken--even after an x-ray. They put a cast on it and told us to visit 'another' hospital in 5-7 days if I remember right. We made a reservation via the internet and email with the Kinderspital in Luzern. I think it was about $700 on a Saturday afternoon.

  6. All three of us at the Kinderspital in Luzern uncannily 3 BLOCKS from my favorite restaurant! A couple of hours wait but great, great people and a great doctor. Cool, very Swiss, free refreshments (NOT Swiss--the free part typically). She checked it out, more x-rays, a new cast and wrap, and confirmed 'no fracture'. About $520

Number 1 Takeaway here is how awesome the Swiss medical system and doctors are!

Number 2 Did not get a lot of reimbursement for any of this and was not able to deduct on taxes. Oh well :(.

Posted by
262 posts

For minor sickness or injuries, the costs are fairly reasonable in Switzerland and the standard of care is very good. But, if you have a serious accident in the mountains while hiking or on the slopes, you may face expensive transport and extended care. Fortunately they never needed to use it, but here's the company information our guests used for their travel insurance.