The UK’s international health insurers might be in for a bumper year in 2021 as demand is likely to grow for the following reasons...
Brexit Transition Period Comes to an End
In the New Year, the UK will have come to the end of the Brexit Transition period and it has already signed trade agreements with over 25 countries and blocs and is considering many more. Some of these will be “Continuity Trade Agreements” which aim to mirror existing EU trade agreements, but some will be brand new – The UK is prioritizing negotiations with Australia, New Zealand and Japan and is also considering joining the “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership”, thankfully also known as the CPTPP.*
With the increase in opportunities that international trade deals bring, employees sent to develop these new markets will require international medical insurance to protect their health during their time overseas.
European Health Insurance Card
The future of the European Health Insurance card (EHIC) is in doubt. If this card is no longer available from 1st January 2021 and no reciprocal healthcare arrangements are put in place with the EU (Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland), short-term travellers will be wise to purchase travel insurance with a good level of health cover and expatriates may be forced to purchase local or international health insurance.
There appears to be a trend for countries with large expatriate populations to make health insurance mandatory for temporary visitors and residents. One of the main reasons behind this is to stop expatriates becoming a burden on the host country’s healthcare system, with non-payment of expatriates’ medical bills being cited as a major problem.
We have seen this over the last few years in the Middle East e.g. Abu Dhabi and Dubai and more recently in Thailand. More countries might follow suit for the same reasons, which could provide new opportunities for international health insurers.
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