Healthcare costs are rising around the world, and even relatively simple procedures can cost thousands of dollars. For a comparatively small premium, you have the peace of mind that you and your family will be covered should you need to be admitted to the hospital.
It is possible to get local cover, and indeed many policies are excellent. However, some local coverage does not provide sufficient cover, stop at a specific age or require policyholders to pay medical fees first and then reclaim them after. For this reason, we would recommend choosing a policy designed specifically for expatriates as it will cover all your needs.
“Inpatient Only” cover means that your policy only pays out if you are admitted to the hospital. It is a way of significantly reducing premiums, but you could still be left with significant medically costs with the cost of an MRI scan, for example, being in the region of $1000 in some hospitals.
Comprehensive health insurance is what is recommended for expats as it will cover all non-pre-existing medical conditions. It gives you peace of mind that should you be sick or involved in an accident; all your medical costs will be covered.
Pre-existing conditions are any conditions that you had before taking out the policy. It should be stressed that these conditions do NOT need to have been previously diagnosed. Failure to declare a condition could invalidate your policy, so you must be honest.
Some local policies insist that patients pay their medical bills first and then reclaim the costs. It can cause financial hardship, and the costs can take months or even years to reclaim. We would, therefore, recommend choosing an expat insurer who will take care of the medical bills from the outset.
Most hospitals around Thailand will accept all health insurance, particularly those in the major cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. However, we would suggest that you check with the hospital before commencing treatment.
Many expat insurance policies will cover you outside of Thailand and even offer some limited coverage in your “home” country. However, this will depend on the policy, so you should always check the small print before travelling.
Most expat health insurance policies have no upper age limited so long as you join their scheme before a specified age, often 70 or 75. Premiums will, of course, increase with age, but you have peace of mind knowing you are covered. Many local policies DO have an upper age limit.
Most insurers allow people to join the scheme up to the age of 70. Some insurers will start policies at any age, so it is worth shopping around.