When in search of a new health insurance plan in Thailand, one of the first questions your insurance broker or provider will ask is whether you’d like an inpatient-only plan or a more comprehensive plan which includes both inpatient and outpatient coverage. But what’s the difference between inpatient and outpatient coverage? Also, what are the benefits of outpatient coverage, and why do we need it? This article provides the answers and more to improve your understanding of outpatient coverage.
What is outpatient coverage and how does it compare to inpatient coverage?
If your plan includes outpatient coverage, it means you have access to medical care that does not require hospitalization or an overnight stay at a medical facility of any sort. On the other hand, a health plan that offers only inpatient coverage will cover the costs related to medical care that involve an overnight stay at the hospital. Admission is usually through the emergency department or as a referral from a clinic. If you are unsure and concerned about the risks of not being covered it is recommended to secure a comprehensive plan that offers both forms of coverage.
What does outpatient coverage offer?
Every insurer in Thailand, whether it is offering a local or international health plan, is different. For example, the level of coverage under the outpatient coverage benefit can vary between the numerous health plans and insurance providers. Limits may differ significantly and some plans may include exclusions.
With this in mind, you should make it a priority to familiarize yourself with a plan’s policy wording, better known as the general terms and conditions. If you are confused by all the insurance jargon and processes, you can choose to speak to an experienced broker like Pacific Prime Thailand.
Outpatient coverage in Thailand will generally cover the following:
- Medical practitioner costs including consultations
- Specialist costs
- Prescription medication
- Prescribed medications
- Diagnostic services and tests e.g. X-rays, MRI, CAT scans, etc
- Scheduled health check-ups
- Home nursing
- Rehabilitation e.g. physiotherapy
- Alternative treatments
- Wellness and prevention services e.g. psychological counseling, weight-loss programs, etc
Be advised again that not all of the benefits above are included in all health insurance plans in Thailand. Refer to a broker or your insurer for more information.
Why do I need outpatient coverage?
There are many reasons why you may want to consider securing a health insurance plan with outpatient coverage. Here are a few reasons:
Access to trusted medical care
Securing a health insurance plan with the necessary outpatient coverage means you can visit the doctor of your choice, within the network of health providers available. If you have a growing family with children who require frequent outpatient care then this form of coverage will be most beneficial.
Access to multilingual doctors and medical staff
Health insurance normally grants access to hospitals that have English-speaking doctors and staff, but also other common languages that are spoken by patients who visit. Therefore, the knowledge of going to an outpatient clinic or hospital clinic with medical professionals that speak your language can be reassuring, since you can communicate and understand clearly what is happening.
Access to great value
You will be pleased to know that the cost of procedures and treatments across Thailand is considerably cheaper than other countries like the U.S., Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, or the UK. Also, Thailand is renowned for having some of the best hospitals and healthcare providers in Southeast Asia. The country’s private healthcare sector, in particular, prides itself on the way it puts its patients first, especially in outpatient clinics where waiting times are incredibly short, if not non-existent.
Interested in securing additional coverage?
Do you want added protection for yourself and the family? If so, you may want to consider higher level, full coverage plans that offer add-on benefits such as accidental death and dismemberment insurance (AD&D) and maternity insurance. Although adding on these extra plans can increase the total premiums you have to pay, you may find yourself saving a great deal of money if you or your partner requires an expensive check-up that is not covered by your health plan, for instance, prenatal screening.
What to do next?
If you find this article to be of relevance to yourself and your family, then reach out to one of Pacific Prime Thailand’s specialist advisors who will offer impartial advice on the available outpatient and add-on options.
As a fully licensed insurance brokerage company, Pacific Prime Thailand is proud to offer exceptional policies in partnership with the industry’s best insurance companies for expats and their families.
Contact us today for a free consultation.