Australia has an ageing population, with baby boomers making up over a quarter of this. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the number of Aussie baby boomers travelling is steadily on the rise too, with a year-on-year increase from 13.4 per cent in 2006 up to 17.6 per cent in 2016. Many retirees have increasing time on their hands and opportunities to travel more easily than ever before.
But with an increased percentage of older people in our population, comes more people with potential health issues too, and in turn for those keen to travel, this can mean additional expenses when it comes to insurance for pre-existing medical conditions.
Making cover options easier
A recent study, which surveyed the travel insurance behaviours of 1,000 Australians, revealed that over a third (39 per cent) of travellers with a pre-existing medical condition were still uncertain on what they were covered for, despite checking their policy.
TravelCard Real-Time Travel Insurance, which launched in the Australian market in April this year, provides cover for 72 pre-existing medical conditions, which is more than many providers offer.
According to TravelCard’s Medical Underwriter and In-House Nurse, Joyce Kambo, the most common pre-existing conditions experienced by its policy-holders are:
Respiratory conditions such as emphysema or asthma
“Cardiac conditions in combination with high blood pressure and cholesterol are among some of the most common medical conditions, but surprisingly, we have noticed an uptake of customers who are travelling with medical conditions like autoimmune diseases, terminal and metastatic cancers. Everyone’s situation is different and understanding your cover can be tricky, which is why we encourage our customers, current and future, to give us a call so we can understand your medical circumstances in detail and explain what they are covered for.”
Michael Tauber, CEO at TravelCard said, “At TravelCard it’s our mission to challenge the traditional offering in the travel insurance industry, particularly when it comes to pre-existing medical conditions. We want everyone to experience the joy of travel and so we look to offer cover to those denied cover by other major travel insurance policy providers.
“We recently assisted an Adelaide-based grandfather who was unable to attain travel insurance from his usual provider for a family holiday to Greece, due to a pre-existing condition. Fortunately, TravelCard stepped in to provide him with a policy and when he fell seriously ill one-week into his trip, we organised a complete medical evacuation for him, his wife and two doctors to escort him back to Australia.
Travelling with a pre-existing medical condition
A popular and easy method of travel for the ageing population is cruising and according to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association), cruise passenger numbers are at an all-time high, with 1.34 million Aussies setting sail in 2017. A recent survey conducted by Galaxy on behalf of TravelCard also revealed that cover while cruising is the most popular policy ‘extra’ option for baby boomers (41 per cent).
If you are travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, TravelCard’s Joyce Kambo has provided her top tips for you to consider:
Learn the language. Familiarise yourself with key phrases and words that will help you in a time of need. Consider phrases like ‘where can I find a doctor?’ or even the words ‘doctor’ or ‘hospital’ may be all you need to point you in the right direction. Alternatively, keep your phone on you at all times - you never know when Google translate may come in handy.
Location, location, location. If something does happen or if you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want is to travel an unnecessary distance and time to access medical help. When booking accommodation, try and pick a place that’s close to a doctor, hospital or pharmacy.
Know your triggers. For some medical conditions, there can be certain triggers that can cause a ‘flare up’. Whether it’s a particular food, drink, product, situation, environment or exercise, know what your triggers are and try to avoid them where possible.
Understand your travel insurance policy.Like any trip, travel insurance is an absolute necessity. Consider your optional extras and make sure you fully understand what the cover is for your condition and restrictions applied (if applicable). If you are unsure of something, contact your travel insurance provider.
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