Are you an expat who is currently considering whether or not to get health insurance in Thailand? It might be one of the most important decisions you make in life, so it’s imperative that you understand all the options currently in the marketplace to make a calculated choice.
Living in Thailand can be a lonely place in times of trouble, and especially if you don’t have insurance and find yourself with a massive medical bill that costs thousands of dollars. Sunshine and smiles can quickly turn to darkness and disappointment. Expats have lost entire life savings by failing to acquire health insurance, so it’s important that we learn from the mistakes of others.
It doesn’t matter if you have already been living in Thailand for serval years, or if you are a newcomer, or even in the planning stages of coming to Thailand to live. Here is a guide to help you understand your health insurance options in Thailand so you can rest easy
The Differences Between Employee & Personal Health Insurance
There are basically two types of health insurance available for expats in Thailand – Employee Health Insurance and privately funded personal health insurance.
Employee Health Insurance is basically a type of insurance that you will acquire when working for a company legally in Thailand. However, for most expats, the only real viable option available is a private and personal health insurance plan. What are the differences between the two, and what are the positives and negatives? Let us help you to understand what is good and bad about both options so you can make an educated decision based on facts.
Employee Health Insurance in Thailand
Have you been offered a job in Thailand? If so, there is a high probability that alongside your work permit, you will receive employee health insurance. It is important to remember that by legally working in Thailand, you will also receive Social Security Insurance (SSI), but that doesn’t cover treatments at international hospitals, so it’s imperative that your company also offers their own employee health insurance plan.
If you have just moved to Thailand to live or have just been offered a job here, employee health insurance could well be the steadfast solution to your health insurance problems.
- One of the main positives about automatically receiving employee health insurance is your company will pay for your insurance policy. You will not have to deal with any monthly charges and in the event of a medical emergency or accident, your company will organize everything. This is the most stress-free health insurance option in Thailand.
- Another major positive in regards to this type of insurance is that if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or chronic health issues, the employee health insurance will cover for them, which really will be a load off your mind.
- Outpatient Care, which is also referred to as OPD, is also a major plus factor of having employee health insurance. OPD covers outpatient visits to the hospital such as for seasonal flu issues and can even incorporate dental care in some cases. However, OPD can also be a negative factor in some ways, which we will address below.
- If you lose your job, your employee health insurance will be immediately terminated. This could leave you in a precarious position and in a state of medical insurance limbo. Your pre-existing medical conditions were automatically covered and you might not be able to easily find a personal health insurance plan that covers those, and if you do, it will cost more than a standard insurance plan.
- If you develop other medical conditions within the duration of your job, your existing employee insurance plan will not cover them, which could seriously leave you in the lurch.
- A major problem with employee insurance is the policies are generally a ‘one size fits all’ package and cannot be customized to meet your own specific needs.
It is important to point out that you can have employee health insurance while at the same time having a personal insurance plan.
Personal Health Insurance in Thailand
The vast majority of expats living in Thailand will need a privately funded personal health insurance plan that covers both medical emergencies and accidents. These insurance packages are highly customizable and have various add-ons. If you have already purchased private health insurance from your home country, please read the small print because in some cases you can only keep this insurance for up to three years if you are not living in your homeland. Here are some positives and negatives of a personal health insurance plan for expats in Thailand.
- It doesn’t matter if you have a job in Thailand or have just been made unemployed because a privately funded personal health insurance plan will remain intact, so you don’t have to worry about any unforeseen medical emergencies.
- With a private health insurance plan, you can choose when, how and if you want to renew your package. The ball is in your court and you hold the rackets. Just make sure that your plan gives you the option to renew after you reach a certain age.
- The best part about obtaining a personal health insurance plan is they are highly customizable. You can decide the specifics of the packages to fit your own needs. You can include dental care, maternity care or any other option that benefits you. This is the main difference between a private plan and a rigid employee insurance package.
- It can be quite time consuming to sift through all the personal health insurance plans in the marketplace. The research time is heavy but is something that is essential if you want to make the right decision. You need to put in the work
- You will have to deal with every facet of your personal plan from all the paperwork to dealing directly with the insurers if an emergency or accident happens. It can be stressful, but at least you are completely in charge.
- One of the major negatives of a private plan is cost. You will have to foot the bill and pay for it from your own pocket.
Whether you are looking to acquire employee health insurance from your job, or are thinking of purchasing a personal health insurance plan, or even merging the two, it is important to know exactly where you stand. In this day and age, every expat in Thailand should be protected, because you do not want to wake up in the hospital with no insurance and a medical bill that could bankrupt you.