Living the dream in Thailand, it’s easy for some expats to put realities such as having adequate health insurance to the back of the mind. However, no cover for medical costs can turn your Thailand experience into a real-life horror story. If you are still holding back, then here are 10 reasons you need health insurance in Thailand for expats … right now:
1. Healthcare costs are rising: Private hospital costs can soon mount up. Bed and board ranges from around 6K – close to 20K baht per night. Add on emergency treatment and surgery and the cost of not having health insurance in Thailand for expats can be staggering.
2. Health insurance Thailand law: Those working in Thailand are legally required to have health insurance. Public health care options only give expats access to public hospitals which, while offering a good standard of care, are not focused on the expatriate community, meaning potential language difficulties and longer waiting times. For expats without a work permit, such as retired expats, public healthcare is not an option.
3. Premiums are the lowest in the Asia Pacific region: Relatively speaking, cover is relatively budget-friendly in Thailand. You can add onto this the fact that living expenses are far less in Thailand compared to big expat hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
4. Optimism isn’t the same as realism: According to an article in British newspaper, The Telegraph, a quarter of expats don’t have health insurance because they feel they are healthy enough to not need it. From high road accident figures to dengue fever, health and safety issues cannot be ignored in Thailand and the value of peace of mind is priceless.
5. Corporate cover is often limited: Expats relying on an employer’s health insurance package often realize too late that corporate cover sometimes only protects to an extent. Limited cover for the same health condition might be set so low as to render the plan little more than a Band-Aid.
6. Thais are opting for private health insurance: Around 10% of Thais have private health insurance and as the Thai economy grows to middle-high income status, this figure is set to rise. Whilst universal, free medical care is provided to Thai nationals, individual plans promise access to some of the best private hospitals in the world.
7. Uninsured expats might have to prove they have adequate funds: Private hospitals want to know that you can and will pay. No insurance could see you transferred to a public hospital or having to show evidence of money at the ready before you leave hospital.
8. Hospitals are the first port of call: Unlike other countries, where you might visit your health clinic or GP first, before being referred to a specialist, in Thailand you go straight to hospital. This means greater hospital costs than simply in-patient care.
9. Insurance plans are flexible: Whatever your budget and health needs, there are so many plans and premium levels to choose from that you can find customized cover that fits.
10. Outpatient cover can be cut and medication is more readily available: Many more medications are available over the counter, without a prescription, in Thailand and outpatient care can be relatively inexpensive. If budget is an issue, one option is to cut dental and outpatient visits from the plan and focus the cover on potentially expensive inpatient care and repatriation costs.