The mention of the word cancer is normally enough to bring back bad memories for people who’s friend or relative passed away from the disease. There are very few people out there whose lives have not been touched by cancer. Given this, people are increasingly realising the importance of being covered in the eventuality of getting cancer. For expats, cancer cover in Thailand is extremely important as accessing the best cancer care available in Thailand is often highly expensive, and for most people unobtainable without a decent health insurance policy. However, once you’re covered you can relax knowing that should the worse happen, you can get treated in leading Thai private hospitals which have dedicated centres providing leading cancer care. In the following article we discuss cancer insurance in Thailand, and provide some pointers as to what one should be looking out for.
First and foremost, people need to understand the difference between inpatient care and outpatient care. Inpatient care involves being admitted into hospital for at least the night. Outpatient care involves receiving care at the hospital without the need to stay in a bed. The reason this distinction is so important is because cancer care increasingly involves outpatient treatment. Many people have inpatient plans, but commonly sacrifice on outpatient care in order to lower costs. If your plan does not contain outpatient cover, then you may not be covered for outpatient cancer treatment costs. As this can involve chemotherapy sessions, costs can quickly escalate into sizeable sums. Some insurers will cover outpatient cancer costs even if you do not have normal outpatient benefits. It’s important you understand your policy, so speak to your intermediary and make sure you understand exactly what you are covered for.
Your level of cover is a key consideration with cancer care. Costs for cancer treatment can result in some of the highest case by case costs which are seen in Thailand’s hospitals. Therefore having cover into the millions of THB is paramount if you want to be adequately covered. Many fall into the trap of believing they are covered in FULL as that’s what it says on their table of benefits. What they forget is that FULL means full up to the headline limit of the plan. IF your plan’s headline limit is 500,000 THB, then that’s the maximum that the insurer will pay out, even for cancer. If you get cancer and start treatment, you would need to foot any costs which exceed the headline limit of your plan. This highlights the importance of not cutting corners and just opting for cheap cover during your stay in Thailand.
Also worth considering is that many insurers have waiting periods for certain conditions which mean you are unable to claim for the specified condition until the waiting period is over. Waiting periods can also apply to cancer cover. If you develop cancer during that pre-defined waiting period then it will be classed as a pre-existing condition and will not be covered. If you do not want to run the risk of this happening then be sure to choose a product where such waiting periods do not exist. The best option is to get covered as soon as possible, so that the prospect of a waiting period exclusion is out of the question.