Do I need maternity insurance in Thailand?
Having children is a life changing experience for everyone. Whether it be your first child, or your third, adding new members to your family creates happiness and also new challenges. One such challenge is paying for healthcare expenses, and maternity insurance Thailand can help to alleviate such worries.
As with any healthcare in Thailand, you have the choice between using government hospitals if you have a work permit and pay into the social security system, or, using private hospitals which are among some of the best equipped and comfortable in the region. Either way, there are costs involved, which make having a medical insurance plan vital.
Generally speaking, pregnancies fall into one of 2 categories.
The first is the standard non-complicated pregnancy. Costs will include pre-natal expenses such as doctors visits, ultrasound check ups and preparation for birth. Then there is the cost of the birth itself and the hospital stay for mother and baby until they are discharged.
If you are fortunate enough to have this type of pregnancy, then costs are predictable and you are unlikely to be in for any surprises. Most hospitals in Thailand operate packages whereby costs are transparent, with little variation from those quotations. That said, it still makes sense to have an insurance policy in place
The second, is complicated pregnancy. Complicated pregnancy involves any occurrence which is outside of the normal chain of events we mentioned above.
Complicated pregnancies can be notoriously expensive. Perhaps the most expensive thing that can go wrong is premature birth. This results in the newborn child being admitted into neonatal ICU, where costs at private hospitals can run into the millions of THB for stays of over 1 month. Such expenses are unaffordable for most people.
When people come to us asking for maternity insurance, we specifically ask them if they are looking for:
- ‘Set amount’ cover. Many plans which cover maternity will cover a fixed amount for maternity based expenses. This varies, but for examples sake let’s say it's 150,000 THB. If you exceed this amount you will need to self insure for the overage. In general, these types of policy are sufficient for normal pregnancy. At the same time, they can leave you hugely exposed if you have a complicated pregnancy.
- Full complications cover. This option will give you extended coverage for potential complications. Typically this level of cover is found in premium plans, and international options.
Given the complications route gives a higher level of coverage, premiums are subsequently much higher than the set amount option.We make sure our clients are clear on what is covered, and what is not covered under their maternity coverage.
Are there waiting periods for all maternity insurance options?
The answer is yes. All health insurance providers have waiting periods before you are able to use the maternity benefits. Note that the insurer operates on the basis of the date the claim was incurred. Therefore you can not wait until the waiting period is over, and then submit old claims.
Waiting periods vary on an insurer to insurer basis. However most are between 10 and 12 months. This means you can not take a maternity insurance plan out once you find out you are pregnant.
It’s crucial that you plan ahead if you want cover to be in place. If you want prenatal expenses to be covered, then you need to be planning around 1 year before getting pregnant.
Will my newborn child be covered?
The answer to this question depends upon the provider you are using.
For higher end plans, it is possible to cover a newborn child with no break in coverage.
For most other plans you will need to add your newborn into your plan after a predetermined amount of time, of up to 15 days. The downside is that if the baby has any health conditions apparent at birth, then these conditions will not be covered.
Speak to your intermediary and they will explain the process with the plan you are using.
Is there a cost effective way of covering maternity?
As with any health insurance plan there are differing value points among the providers out there. Part of our job at Seek2Insure is to help clients navigate the options and find the plans which represent the best value for their needs.
The way family plans are structured also helps to realise value for our clients. Most insurers require that all members of a family plan have the same benefits. It makes little sense to insure a husband and children on a plan which covers high level maternity. Thus, we often recommend splitting the family into 2 policies, often under different providers. This allows the mother to be covered under a maternity plan, and for the father and/or children to be covered on plans where maternity is not covered.
Another option to reduce premiums is by using a deductible or excess. This means you cover a pre-agreed amount yourself, in return for a lower premium. This ultimately means you still have cover for high cost claims, at a lower cost annual premium.
If you are looking to discuss your options around maternity insurance Thailand, please contact us today and one of our consultants can work with you to find the best option for you!