Monday, 24 December 2012
Travelling with diabetes is not always easy or straightforward – that is why we set up VoyageMD.com. One recurrent complaint we hear from people living diabetes is the cost of insurance for travel. As we mentioned in a previous post, for the insurance companies the main consideration is the cost of dealing with an unforeseen medical incident whilst the traveler is abroad. Some countries are notoriously expensive when it comes to medical care especially the USA but even within Europe the costs can also vary by huge amounts.
Although there are very many companies selling insurance, when it comes to travel, the majority use one system to work out the risk for an individual traveler by asking a set of standard questions (http://www.healix.com). For diabetes the questions relate to age, insulin or no insulin, recent hospital admissions (without specifying the reason), smoking history, presence of diabetes complications and whether or not the applicant has to take medicines for blood pressure or cholesterol (nearly everyone with type 2 diabetes!!). The interesting finding is what is NOT asked – the insurance companies do not appear to be interested in hypoglycaemia risk, HBA1c levels any aspect of glucose control. This seems surprising especially as hypoglycamia and problems with maintaining good control of blood glucose levels are two of the commonest problems related to travel and diabetes.
The variation in the price of insurance premiums related to diabetes is surprising. As an example, VoyageMD used a well known comparative website (www.moneysupermarket.com) and compared the costs of buying insurance for a person living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes and compared the costs if the traveler had been in hospital recently: single male traveler with diabetes planning a single 2 week trip in December the quotes were:
Travelling to France
Type 1 diabetes with no recent hospital admissions £10.60 – £37.88
Type 1 diabetes with a recent hospital admissions £14.36 – £85.47
Type 2 diabetes with no recent hospital admissions £11.36 – £15.05
Type 2 diabetes with a recent hospital admission £14.36 – £95.48
Travelling to Spain
Type 1 diabetes with no recent hospital admissions £10.60 – £37.85
Type 1 diabetes with a recent hospital admissions £21.25 – £96.27
Type 2 diabetes with no recent hospital admissions £12.66 – £79.78
Type 2 diabetes with a recent hospital admission £30.77 – £95.46
Travelling to the USA
Type 1 diabetes with no recent hospital admissions £31.69 – £120.32
Type 1 diabetes with a recent hospital admissions £51.75 – £202.20
Type 2 diabetes with no recent hospital admissions £25.99 – £147.04
Type 2 diabetes with a recent hospital admission £66.00 – £231.97
The take home message is (a) shop around and (b) the insurance companies need to talk to people living with diabetes and their diabetes teams to gain a better insight about the risk and realities of travel and diabetes so that people living with the condition are not unfairly penalised.
This is going to be one of the major campaigns for VoyageMD in 2013.
Happy New Year
Monday, 24 December 2012
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