Challenges when buying health insurance

If you have ever gone through the process of buying health insurance products online, you will quickly realise that health insurance is not a product which can easily be purchased through an online transaction alone. There are plenty of sites out there which allow you to compare the rates of insurers, but none are able to tell you the terms under which you will be accepted, or even if you will be accepted at all. So whilst it’s perfectly obvious that health insurance is not the same as car insurance, or travel insurance, I wanted to look at some of the factors which make health insurance unique in the way we can buy it. Buying health insurance in Thailand can really be challenging.

Health insurance is perhaps the complete opposite of a ‘one size fits all’ product. In fact everyone will have a range of circumstances and needs which makes it very difficult to tick a few boxes so that you can buy a product. The process of assessing the risk for a health insurer needs to be done on a case to case basis, and quite often this can require further information from the applicant. All health insurers will employ underwriters whose job is to assess risk on a case to case basis and in turn decide which applicants to accept, and if accepted, under which terms.

So what’s the best way to get around the minefield of options available when buying health insurance? Well, you can either approach several insurers yourself and find a product that fits your need, or you can enlist the help of an intermediary. A good intermediary will start off by listening to your needs and asking questions. Only once they have a picture of your requirements should they recommend products for you to look at. If they start off by pushing a product, you may need to question whose best interests they are representing.

So what sort of questions should they be asking? And why?

  • Your age. Health insurance pricing works on the basis of age bands.
  • Height/Weight. If you BMI is high you can be declined, or your premium loaded. Insurers have different policies, so it’s important to know at the start for the intermediary.
  • Pre-Existing details. By knowing your pre-existing details, an intermediary can match you with a provider which provides the best terms.
  • Residence details and travel. If you travel a lot, or are resident between several countries, advice on products will differ.
  • Would you accept a deductible. This can help to reduce premium.
  • Do you require inpatient and outpatient cover? Having just inpatient cover will reduce your premium.

If you decide to go down the intermediary route, please feel free to get in touch. We provide an independent service which will help you find the correct product for your needs and hopefully make buying health insurance that bit easier!