Health insurance is something that we all need if we are either living in Thailand or coming for a visit. Like anywhere, accidents can easily happen and ensuring that you have the correct cover is vital as although healthcare is cheaper here than in the west, you can still easily end up with a bill mounting up to thousands of dollars. One thing that is important to understand is that almost all policies will exclude pre-existing conditions or have certain stipulations regarding them, often resulting in the premium being increased.
This is one of the most frequently taken forms of health insurance and was particularly appealing 5-10 years ago. As the name suggests, you need to be admitted to hospital for the insurance to apply and in many cases, any follow up treatment will not be covered. Naturally, this is cheaper but as the cost of health care is increasing, many people are finding themselves with large bills for treatments that require MRI scans for instance. All insurance is better than nothing but you should consider your financial position before making a final decision. You can choose to pay an excess or deductible to keep the charges down.
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Inpatient and Outpatient Cover (Comprehensive Cover)
Often referred to as Comprehensive Cover, inpatient and outpatient insurance covers almost all treatments but often has exclusions such as dental cover meaning that the name can be a little misleading. Things that are excluded can usually be added for an additional charge. This is by far and away the best option but is obviously more expensive. Again, opting for an increased deductible or excess will bring the price down.
Comprehensive plus Maternity Cover
This is a very straightforward option, it is basically the same as above but covers maternity care. It should be noted that there is a 10 month waiting period before this option becomes available. This is an option that you should take if you are planning on starting a family or having more children.
Thailand Only Cover
Thailand only cover is something that is generally offered by the local brokers. This is sufficient for most people but it is important to check the levels of cover as they can sometimes be woefully short. Often for comparable levels of cover, something that you may need in serious circumstances such a stroke or heart attack, the expat options covering all of Asia or worldwide are far better.
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Again this is something that speaks for itself. The cover that you will get will cover you worldwide EXCEPT your ‘home’ country, for example, France or the US. Often policies exclude the US and Hong Kong to keep prices down so if you are planning to travel to these countries make sure you check that you are covered.
Travel insurance is fantastic if you are coming to Thailand for a short-term visit. However, if you live in Thailand this is NOT suitable and indeed the insurance company may refuse to pay. Those living in Thailand need the proper health insurance and not travel insurance to avoid complications further down the line.