by Dale Robinson


1 May 2024


ABTA says big increase in medical costs abroad makes Travel Insurance even more essential.

The travel association has warned travellers that  medical bills have risen “substantially” since 2019, uriging holidaymakers to buy Travel Insurance as soon as they book their trip.

ABTA found that people requiring an air ambulance  from the European Union to cost between €25,000-30,000 – more than twice the 2019 costs.

Worldwide costs are even higher, more than doubling to €75,000-85,000 in 2023.

Emergency medical treatment abroad, including air ambulance fees should be covered by Travel Insurance, ABTA highlighted.

While some holidaymakers may sometimes rely solely on the General Health Insurance Card (Ghic), ABTA highlighted that not all these services are provided free of charge and air ambulance costs are not covered by Ghic.

Graeme Buck, Abta communications director, said:

“Every year we see very sad stories of uninsured people who have fallen ill or had an accident while overseas and are running up large medical bills.


“They often resort to setting up a GoFundMe page or similar, but they will now find they need to raise substantially more money, with air ambulance and other medical costs having gone through the roof.


“It is simply not worth the risk of financial ruin, simply to save a few pounds, so always take out travel insurance at the time of booking your holiday or other travel arrangements.”

Jennifer Anderson, consular and crisis director at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, said:

“Travelling without insurance can be expensive and distressing if things do go wrong when you are abroad.

“The good news is that purchasing the right travel insurance does not take long and could save you a lot of money and stress.

“I encourage anyone booking travel to make sure your travel insurance covers the places you visit, the duration of your visit and any planned activities and do disclose any medical conditions so your cover remains valid.”

Insurance for pre-existing medical conditions

Compare prices online in minutes with cover for hundreds pre-existing medical conditions and with no age limit.

Specialist Travel Insurance with no upper age limit

Compare prices in minutes