Travel insurance is NOT a waste of money.
But you need to understand what its for. My partner collapsed in China, we were travelling independently in a reasonably remote area on a public bus. He ended up in hospital very,very ill and we were medivaced home. The insurance paid. That's the short version.
This is what insurance does NOT do.
They can't help you in an emergency - that's where you reach out to bystanders, tour guides, hotel staff whatever. They all know how to access their health systems- just like you do at home. If I'm travelling solo I have some key information on the lock screen of the phone - my name, nationality, ph no of a trusted friend (see below).
You seek care - in our case I paid thousands of dollars to get my partner admitted to hospital before I had a chance to call the insurance company.
You deal with the insurance afterwards - it was months afterwards I was finally reimbursed some. of the costs involved. The insurance did pay for the medivac flight and return via commercial flight up front. Keep detailed records of all costs as you incur them if you can - get receipts if you can.
I won't leave home without travel insurance. I also have a credit card with a very high limit. I also have access to a line of credit which is substantial. I also have an agreement with someone I completely trust, don't travel with, and who has resources. If required he'll fly to us and help out. My partner has pretty much fully recovered but has heart failure and we will continue to travel so we put in these backstops. Travel insurance is part of the package - not the whole thing.