The grass is greener but the benefits leaner for UK workers moving abroad

Article date: 18 October 2010

  • Over three quarters of people say they would consider moving overseas to improve health and wellbeing
  • Healthcare provision is the main concern for potential emigrants
  • 25% have no idea what provision they are entitled to overseas.

Health is front of mind for people considering living and working abroad, according to research from Aviva UK Health.

Over three quarters of people say that they’d consider moving abroad to help improve their health and wellbeing, with 40% saying that they’d do so to improve their work/life balance and 36% believing that other countries offer them a healthier environment and more varied lifestyle.

When asked what they’d miss most about the UK, health once again figured highly with almost a quarter (23%) of those questioned naming the national health service as the thing they’d miss the most. A massive 64% believe that the UK enjoys better state health benefits than other countries with just 7% believing the reverse. Only 8% of people claim they would miss the UK’s hectic working culture.

Despite this, over a third of young workers (34%) wouldn’t consider taking out additional health insurance if they were moving abroad. Aviva’s research also shows a high level of ignorance about the level of state healthcare UK citizens are entitled to in other countries.

Teresa Rogers, international sales and marketing manager at Aviva UK Health, comments: “In the UK we’re in the enviable position of being able to choose to complement the ‘free at the point of delivery’ health services available from the NHS with a private health insurance policy. However, in many countries private health insurance is a necessity you can’t afford to be without.”

A quarter of those surveyed have no idea what state healthcare provision they are entitled to if they move overseas. Further more, nearly one in five (17%) think that they’d automatically qualify for free healthcare abroad. 

Similarly, when asked about Europe specifically, almost half (41%) wrongly believe that as a UK citizen they automatically qualify for state-funded healthcare within the EU and Commonwealth.

Rogers said: “Healthcare provision varies greatly around the world and even routine medical care can prove costly in countries that don’t offer a similar service to the NHS. While we’re delighted to see that the majority of people would consider taking out additional private health insurance if they move overseas, our research clearly shows that many people have a very limited understanding of overseas health provision which could result in them choosing inappropriate cover or worse still, wrongly believing that either the state will provide cover or a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is sufficient.

“This is where experts such as Aviva can offer advice and support to help customers understand the level of cover they require. And, because our International Solutions product is flexible, individuals can tailor their cover to suit their needs and budgets whilst complementing the healthcare provisions in the country they are living. Moreover, should the worst happen, we can arrange ambulances, find appropriate treatment facilities, deal directly with providers in their local language and settle invoices directly.“


For further information, please contact:
Fiona Chow, TeamSpirit Public Relations, 020 7360 7822,
Amber Chable. Aviva Press Office, 02380 359383,

Notes to editors:

Aviva surveyed 1,500 UK workers aged 18 to 45 through Redshift in March 2010 – of the sample 1,000 workers were aged 18 to 30. The number of 18-30 year olds in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland is currently 10,675,000 as confirmed by the Office of National Statistics, with Aviva’s research finding that 54% have considered moving abroad to work.

International Solutions offers extensive Core Cover up to an overall annual limit of £1,500,000 and a wide range of modules that enable the customer to add or remove benefits to help suit their needs and budget,

The modules are as follows:

Additional cover options

  • Wellness Benefit - provision of routine tests eg mammograms, prostate screening
  • Dental and Optical Benefits
  • Increased out-patient cover
  • Compassionate travel
  • Maternity cover.

Reduced benefit options

  • Alternative excess
  • Reduced out-patient
  • Reduction on additional benefits eg emergency dental, prescribed drugs & dressings.

About Aviva 

  • Aviva is the world’s sixth largest* insurance group, serving 53 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific
  • Aviva's main business activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance, with worldwide total sales of £45.1 billion and funds under management of £379 billion at 31 December 2009 
  • We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of life and pensions products in Europe  
  • The Aviva media centre at includes images, company and product information and a news release archive
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* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2009


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