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Travel expert Simon Calder has urged holidaymakers not to “take the risk” of flocking to certain destinations when they have underlying health conditions.

Speaking on GB News, Calder said not taking out travel insurance and heading to a holiday spot in a location not covered by the Global Health Insurance Card scheme could have damaging consequences financially.

It comes after reports about a British grandfather who is currently unable to leave a hospital in Turkey due to an unpaid medical bill.

Calder advised GB News viewers on how they can avoid ever ending up in that scenario.

“So this guy goes on holiday and doesn’t take out travel insurance, even though he’s got pre-existing medical conditions”, he said.

“One report I saw said that he’d actually not been able to get insurance. I find that quite surprising, because anyone can get it, you just might not like the premium price of the policy.


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“So he fell into a coma and his family are of course, absolutely distraught. Turkey is outside of the European Union. It therefore doesn’t count under the Global Health Insurance Card scheme.

“This means he is liable for these costs. The family say he’s being held there until they pay at least half of the £41,000 that is owed.”

Questioned about the “temptation” of avoiding the hefty fees that travel insurance throws up, Calder said the best way to mitigate the risk is by avoiding it altogether.

“My lovely mother-in-law is going to be 95 this week”, he said.

“She is still travelling, but only within Europe and only because the cost of insurance is going to be many times the cost of the trip.

“She thinks, ‘well, I’ll get emergency medical treatment free if I’m in the European Union and I’ve got a GHIC (Global Health Insurance Card)’.

“Beyond that, absolutely not. It’s not worth the risk.”

Calder urged holidaymakers to apply for a GHIC and avoid scam sites trying to charge users as it’s a free process.

“Don’t go to any of the scam sites that want to charge you money for it”, he said.

“It’s a free card, but even if you haven’t, it’s not a huge problem.

“Yes, you have to go through a bit of rigmarole to sort it out, but in general, if you go to a public hospital, they will treat you first and ask questions later in the European Union.

“If you are a British resident, you should get it for free.”

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