Don’t forget your health insurance in Thailand
Health insurance is perhaps the one insurance that everyone should have when you are living in Thailand. It is often an insurance that is forgotten about or regarded as expensive, especially for those of us who have had the privileged of free health care back in our home countries. If you have a work permit you will be entitled to some cover through the government scheme although in reality this cover is the absolute minimum that you require as some of the hospitals eligible for the scheme will not have the necessary equipment to conduct the correct tests or treat many conditions. Buying the right health insurance in Thailand then becomes very important.
It is possible to get health insurance from a number of sources that will obviously give you different levels of cover. Insurance from an Expat company such as ACS or Healthcare International will give you far greater cover for each US$ you spend although they are naturally more expensive. Thai companies such as BUPA Thailand offer different levels of insurance but a tailored more towards the local market with some conditions being covered and others not.
If you are considering taking the expat insurance there will again be a number of different options that will be available to you. For instance, you can decide if you want full cover or just inpatient only cover. Inpatient only cover means that you are only covered if you are admitted to the hospital and you will be liable for other bills. This naturally reduces the cost and is the favoured option by many expats who view outpatient care as relatively cheap. Other options include the varying levels of excess (or deductible) that you pay. Some people wish to pay zero excess whilst others are prepared to pay as much as the first US$2000 so again it depends very much on your own personal circumstances for what is the best option for you.
When it comes to claims, most insurance companies will want to see your passport and insurance card. Ordinarily, the hospital will then contact the insurer to arrange payment although in some cases you may be asked to pay first and then claim back the sum from the insurer. Hospitals also sometimes want a deposit of around THB100,000 before commencing treatment if authorisation has yet to be granted by the insurer. If you have pre-planned treatment, the Thai insurance company may wish to agree a price before treatment begins and there are various forms to complete in relation to this depending on which company is used. It is always advisable to carry your insurance card and to inform people that you have insurance should you, for whatever reason, be unable to tell the hospital yourself.
With expat insurance it is also possible, in some cases, to pay annually, bi-annually, quarterly or even monthly opening it up to more people. Expat insurance really can be tailored to your own individual requirements and may save you a fortune in the long run. There have been many stories about expats running up bills in excess of THB1 million when they have needed to be admitted to hospital following an accident. Is this something that you could afford without it seriously affecting your future quality of life? It really isn’t worth taking the risk of living in Thailand without suitable health insurance.
Speak to one of our team today for more details.