31, July 2015: Experts in the travel insurance industry say huge medical bills experienced by one unfortunate holidaymaker are further proof UK travellers should be aware of the need to avail of independent travel insurance to top up the limitations of an EU Medical Card.

In an article in the Telegraph, journalist Jessica Gorst-Williams reported that one traveller, who suffered a stroke and had to be confined in an ICU unit while holidaying in France, was told that all expenses were free when he presented his EU medical card. However, after treatment he was surprised to receive a €1,739 bill.

Gorst-Williams points out that while travel insurance for the particular couple would have been more expensive, as the gentleman's wife had undergone chemotherapy in the past, the simple fact of the matter was that the pair had lost a gamble. The writer points out that the gentleman had incorrectly assumed that the EHIC would cover everything, however, citizens living in France typically pay for 20 percent of hospital costs, which, along with a host of other incidental charges would have added to the total bill.

It is for this reason the NHS advises travellers that the EU medical card is not an alternative to travel insurance. For instance, costs of private healthcare and emergency evacuation are not covered by the EHIC, while healthcare policies differ depending on the host country.

For example, in France, being admitted into a hospital or clinic that is not registered to provide state care will result in non-refundable bills, which must be paid by the individual. These facilities tend to add surcharges that are not within the scope of the French healthcare system. To further confuse the issue, some private clinics and hospitals do offer state healthcare if requested.

Experts within the industry encourage consumers to educate themselves as much as possible - not only about their EU medical card but also about the healthcare system of the country or countries they plan to visit. Travellers are strongly advised to take out private travel insurance to cover the limitations of the EHIC.

Consumers can visit the EHIC area of the official NHS website to find specific information, while other websites like AllAboutEHIC.org provide a regular curation of EHIC-related information as well as the latest developments related to the EHIC.

About All About EHIC:

P.K. Chong is the Managing Director of All About EHIC. As a major insurance authority, All About EHIC provides information and top up insurance for those travellers who already have the EHIC. This top up insurance will cover issues not covered by the EHIC card. Contact them at http://allaboutehic.org/

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