Proper health insurance in Thailand isn’t cheap, but going without it can cost you even more. Whether you get it through your employer or privately, the most important thing is to know precisely what you are and are not getting with your coverage.
If your current health is relatively good, you may be tempted to forgo the cost of buying health insurance. But what if you have an accident or get struck down by an unexpected illness, and what about your spouse and children?
Even though premiums do go up year-on-year, not having health insurance is still a far riskier and potentially financially costly option than paying a little bit out of pocket for treatment. Consider that without health insurance, you’ll be responsible for paying all costs if you get sick or injured – now that can quickly add up! Consider that a stay in a regular hospital in Thailand can cost approximately THB 5,000 / day.
The more you know about health insurance and what it can do for you and your family, the easier it is to realize that it’s worth the investment. Let’s take a quick look at what the benefits are, what’s not covered and what levels of coverage exist.
What’s the Benefit?
Whether you’re chronically ill or relatively healthy, health insurance in Thailand can provide the protection you need for both routine and unexpected medical needs. Here are just three benefits to consider:
- Health insurance can help protect you and your family from high medical costs, whether expected or not, through full or partial coverage.
- Health insurance typically covers other essential, and costly, health benefits like emergency services, prescription drugs, medical leave, and maternity care too.
- Health insurance covers preventive health services to keep you healthy now and in the future by screening for potential health issues that could arise.
What’s Not Covered
The coverages you receive will largely depend on the type of health insurance plan you get and the insurance company you, or your employer, uses. For example, some health insurance plans cover vision, maternity, and dental care needs, and some don’t. Some will include emergency medical evacuation; others won’t. Many programs will also include a yearly full-body medical check, but not all.
Additionally, a standard health insurance plan will only cover services deemed necessary to prevent, diagnose or treat an illness, injury, condition or disease. It won’t cover anything that isn’t considered medically necessary, such as the following:
- Cosmetic surgery (i.e., rhinoplasty)
- Holistic treatment (i.e., acupuncture)
- Infertility treatment (i.e., IVF)
- Long-term care (i.e., disability assistance)
- Weight-loss surgery (i.e., gastric banding)
Levels of Coverage
While health insurance can be regarded as a necessity, choosing a plan can be complicated. There are four primary levels of health insurance to consider:
Level 1 (Bronze)
This plan costs the least in terms of premiums, but the most when you need medical attention. Your deductible, aka the amount pay before your health insurance kicks in, can be thousands of dollars per year. This plan usually only covers out-patient services.
Level 2 (Silver)
This is the most popular type of plan in the market. It typically covers both in- and out-patient services but with a more moderately priced premiums and deductibles.
Level 3 (Gold)
This level offers a high monthly premium but has a low cost when used. It will also cover additional items like dental, vision, maternity, disability care, etc.
Level 4 (Platinum)
As you would guess, this level has the highest monthly premium, but with no or minimal deductible to be paid. Besides offering all of the previously mentioned services, it will usually also cover emergency evacuation and a range of high-end tests and treatments.