Eight in 10 cruisers think they’re covered by Medicare

‘Once you’re out on the water; you’re on your own in terms of healthcare,’ says travel insurance expert.

Eight in 10 cruisers think they’re covered by Medicare

A survey released last week revealed that more than eight in 10 cruisers think Medicare covers them on a domestic cruise – or anywhere, for that matter.

“It’s astounding to see how many Aussies are under the misconception that Medicare covers you while cruising domestically,” said Compare Travel Insurance director Natalie Ball.

“In fact, Medicare coverage is restricted to around 20km from Australian ports, which means that once you’re out on the water; you’re on your own in terms of healthcare."

According to Smartraveller research, nearly half go on cruise holidays without travel insurance. Many think being on a ship means they are safe, but infirmary bills can cost up to $5000 a day, and evacuation costs can be $10,000 to $20,000 in Australian waters and $50,000 overseas.

“Travel insurance is essential for a cruise holiday, whether you are overseas or in Australian waters,” said Ms Ball.

“While cruise ships do have doctors on call, this doesn’t undermine the need for travel insurance.

“In an emergency, the facilities onboard may not cut it, forcing you to evacuate to the nearest hospital. Without travel insurance, any medical fees and emergency transport expenses would be at your own cost.

“The data points to a common thread: Aussies are gravely misinformed when it comes to cruise cover.

“There is a widespread belief that cruise holidays are safer and less exposed to risk – this couldn’t be further from the truth. You are just as likely to fall ill, get injured or run into delays while cruising as you are when travelling overseas.”

Were you aware that Medicare stops once you’ve pulled out of port?

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    14th Sep 2019
    My experience is that reputable travel agents, including the on-line variety, and cruise lines themselves specifically advise that passengers on cruise ships are not covered by Medicare and travel insurance is strongly recommended. I suspect many people simply ignore this advice to save money.
    14th Sep 2019
    I have travelled the globe by air and never had insurance, BUT a cruise is something different. Cant explain why, just me I guess.
    14th Sep 2019
    unscheduled landing of a plane for a medical emergency is very costly, sunny. The good side is that air travel is so much shorter than sea travel that you only need a relatively inexpensive policy. I have a credit card travel insurance policy which is free and which paid out $15000+ when I had a medical problem 2 years ago. Some commercial travel insurance providers will only cover you until you are 70 whereas mine goes until 80. I doubt if I will do much globetrotting after that.
    14th Sep 2019
    Actually ozirules, travel insurance can be purchased for any age, but the price goes up with the years. When we took my mother-in-law on a cruise for her 90th birthday we took out TI for her, but it was nearly equal the cost for my wife and myself. Fortunately we did not have to use it.

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