Question asked by: 
Date asked: 
Jul 2013

Is it easier to get travel insurance when treatment is complete and I’m in remission? I heard it would be very expensive to get cover for America but ok for Europe. Is this true? If I decide to go to Europe can I just go with my European Health Insurance Card and possibly buy a Swiss Assist card? 

Is it easier to get travel insurance when treatment is complete and I’m in remission?
It should be possible to obtain cover at any stage of treatment as long as you are clinically well for the trip.
Response by Dr K Shastri

We routinely provide cover for those undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. 

The cost of travel insurance varies according to an individual’s clinical status and their destination. 

In the event of complications the cost of a hospitalisation in the US can often be in excess of £100,000 – so premiums will reflect these potential costs.   

The difference between covering someone to go to America or to Spain is phenomenal.
Response by Eileen Dalrymple-White

In most EU countries, if you go to hospital with a cut finger they will review and dress the finger. In the USA, they will review and dress the finger, having taken down your medical history and then run various tests to make sure everything else is OK before they discharge you (so you don’t sue them).

In the majority of the EU, state hospitals medical costs are free and the cost of a hospital bed without any other costs (such as doctor, investigative tests, medication, dressings, surgery) would be approximately €400 - €600 per day.

In the USA, the cost of a hospital bed (without any other costs) would be approximately $5000 per day.

An air ambulance in Europe would cost approximately £4000.

An air ambulance in the USA would cost approximately £30,000.

Travel insurance offers you much wider cover.
Response by Fiona Macrae

If you are in remission, have been so for at least two years, and no longer receiving active treatment (other than long term medication), premiums for Europe would be around £20 for a two week holiday, and around £40 for two weeks in America.

This is assuming that you have no complications from your cancer or its treatment. 

We would not advise relying on your EHIC soley, even with a Swiss Assist card to repatriate you. Travel insurance offers you far wider cover: cancellation, cutting short your holiday and so on. Furthermore in some European countries you do have to contribute to your medical costs up front and then claim them back. Having travel insurance would save all the hassle, particularly if you are taken ill, maybe seriously, and have to think about how you are going to pay your bill.