Contrary to popular belief, not all medical treatments are affordable in the Land of Smiles. Expenses can definitely add up, especially for major procedures at the most established private hospitals, many of which are frequented by medical tourists and expats in Thailand.
A gastric bypass in Bangkok, for example, can cost up to USD 42,000! Finding the best expat health insurance plan that covers the increasing cost of healthcare here is, therefore, strongly recommended to protect your finances and give you maximum peace of mind.
When it comes to finding the best expat health insurance in Thailand, leading broker Pacific Prime Thailand has shared with us their insiders’ tips below.
1. Know what your healthcare needs are
Before shopping around for health insurance, it helps to first ascertain your estimated healthcare needs. Here are a few things that we’d advise considering:
Do you have a preferred clinic?
If you have a specific doctor that you go to, it’s important to check first whether the insurance plan you’re considering buying includes their clinic in the policy’s “network of providers”. Provider networks are facilities that the insurer will either suggest or request policyholders to use. Of course, you can still visit clinics outside of the provider network, but insurers will usually reimburse a smaller amount for out-of-network clinics, or not provide any reimbursement at all.
Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
If you have a pre-existing health condition (e.g. asthma), for example, you might want to find an insurance provider that covers treatment of that particular condition. Bear in mind here that insurance companies are often wary about covering pre-existing ailments, as they pose a much higher financial risk. Luckily, some insurance companies will cover certain pre-existing conditions, but there’s usually a catch, such as the need to pay a higher premium.
Do you or your family go to the doctors often?
If the answer is yes, the best health insurance plan for you will likely cover your outpatient expenses. Outpatient treatment is a popular health insurance term describing care that does not require an overnight hospital stay (e.g. GP or specialist visits). If you rarely ever need to see the doctor and have a relatively low budget, a basic health insurance plan that solely covers hospitalization might be more ideal for you.
2. Know what coverage level you want
When shopping for health insurance in Thailand, you’ll quickly find that plan features and levels can vary very significantly. The ideal expat health insurance plan for you will depend on your specific budget and healthcare needs, but in Pacific Prime Thailand’s experience, expats in Thailand will usually go for a policy that features some or all of the below:
● Dental insurance
● Pregnancy and childbirth insurance
● Health check-up cover
● Outpatient treatment benefits
● Newborn insurance
● Pre-existing conditions coverage
● Southeast Asia or worldwide coverage
3. Be wary of the cheapest health insurance plans
While the cheapest health insurance plans are no doubt appealing, the low price tag is likely not conducive of the best health insurance coverage. Some of the common pain points frequently reported by clients with cheap health insurance plans include:
● Restrictive provider networks
● High out-of-pocket costs
● High number of exclusions
● Poor customer service
● No coverage benefits outside of Thailand
4. Find an expat health insurance plan that is portable worldwide
As an expat in Thailand, you’ll likely move countries quite frequently, or relocate in the future. Choosing international health insurance means that even if you move to another country later, you’ll be able to retain your insurance plan in the new country.
5. Find out about the insurer’s reputation
This is a less tangible, but ever-so-important factor that should definitely be considered when you’re on your quest to finding the ideal expat health insurance plan in Thailand. Reputable insurers are all the more likely to have robust customer service systems in place, and implement more stable premium increases upon renewal. This factor is particularly important to keep in mind when shopping for a plan because it can make all the difference when it comes time to submit a claim or seek assistance from the insurance provider’s customer service team.
If you’d like to learn more about finding the best expat health insurance plan in Thailand, be sure to contact Pacific Prime’s team of insurance advisors for impartial advice and a free quote today!