As many as half a million people could be leaving the UK to become expatriates by the end of the year, reports AXA PPP healthcare.
It is difficult to use forecast figures, but there is no doubt that the trend for moving abroad is increasing.
In 2006, official figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that 400,000 people emigrated from the UK, and by the end of last year, the insurer had seen an 11.7 per cent rise in the number of inquiries for international private medical insurance, and a 28.6 per cent increase in inquiries from those looking to relocate elsewhere in Europe.
It is on the basis of the continued rise in inquiries in the first half of this year - up 15 per cent again on the same period last year - that the insurer has calculated its figures. It points out that 500,000 people is equivalent to the entire population of Leeds, and there is good reason to think that the number of people moving overseas is accelerating.
YouGov figures suggest that one in three of us is considering a move abroad to improve his or her financial position.
Retirees can live an equivalent lifestyle in France for about a third of the cost of the UK, thanks to lower taxes and cheaper food and energy bills. Now that there is also a relaxation of rules on access to healthcare for non-French residents in France, the appeal is growing even more.
The insurance company says inquiries for the other side of the Channel more than doubled for the first half of this year - an indication of its rising appeal.
Other locations not as commonly sought after are being considered as people try to benefit from lower property and living costs, and better weather. Bulgaria and Cyprus are popular destinations, while Spain has fallen in popularity - possibly because of the well-publicised fears over property repossessions within the country.
Having the right kind of healthcare, no matter where you are, is vital, which is why international health insurance is vital.
International health insurance: News update: October 2008