Now that the Brexit referendum is taking place at the end of the month, health insurers will be
keeping an eye open for potential new markets if Britain decides to leave Europe.
If the UK does vote to leave, UK travelers and expats overseas will no longer be covered by the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This opens up a new market segment of up to 1.2 million British expats and 3 million European expats in the UK who, together with UK employers who insure their employees that travel or live abroad, will be in search of new insurance options.
While EHIC was never meant to be a complete substitute for travel insurance, 56% of all British travelers and 74% of travelers between 18-24 holiday without extra insurance. Also, around 1.2 million British expats are scattered throughout Europe, with most of them residing in Spain, Ireland and France.
At the moment EHIC covers critical care abroad for every citizen of an EEA state and Switzerland. With the card, EU nationals will not have to travel to their home country when they get sick or get into an accident. It does not cover any health service that can be postponed until the traveler returns and people who travel to a country solely to receive a specific treatment.
For any employer in Europe that has expat employees that can be affected by the EHIC it is vital to keep abreast of Brexit and the potential impact it could have on them.