What’s the Scoop on Health Insurance in Thailand?

The US Embassy Bangkok has issued an advisory: Thailand remains one of the most popular retirement destinations in the world. Great culture; great food; great people. And as US citizens age, Thailand also offers access to excellent health care, provided at world-class private hospitals by internationally trained doctors. But you need to be able to afford it. Sadly, we at the Embassy in Bangkok have seen many instances where US citizens discover, too late, that essential, high-quality health care is out of financial reach and their options are limited. As you contemplate your own preparedness, we urge you to plan for a few key expenses: medical treatment, nursing care, and, if necessary, medical evacuation.  

News Flash: The Thai Ministry for Tourism and Sports says plans to make visitors to Thailand take out insurance have been put on the back burner until 2020 or at a “more appropriate time in the future”. Thailand tourism was facing a difficult time at present what with the sluggish world economy, the high value of the baht and the low value of the Yuan. He said that it was better to wait and that changing things now could cause more trouble than it was worth. He said that requiring tourists to have insurance was a “sensitive” matter that could “scare” tourists off at this time. It was clear with Thailand on track to record visitors in excess of 40 million annually this was not a good time to be bringing in new regulations.

Our Concierge service can arrange your insurance for you in advance if you wish. Just email us a copy of the photo page of your passport when you book with us and we’ll send you quotes from every qualified carrier so you can choose the one that best suits you. We can handle pre-existing conditions and you can set your deductible as high as you wish to keep your premiums affordable.

The requirement should not be seen as a “hurdle” to visitors to Thailand, the source said on Monday. Under the proposal, the Office of the Insurance Commission would draft details on insurance policies and insurance distribution channels, including the installation of automatic vending machines at international airports and border checkpoints. The Tourism and Sports Ministry first proposed requiring foreign visitors to have travel insurance last year, explaining it did not have enough staff to supervise the safety and welfare of the growing number of tourists. Hospitals have until now often been left carrying the cost of medical treatment of tourists injured during their stay in Thailand and who have no means to pay their bills. This will actually be a big relief to most people and, if everyone buys it, the price should be only a few dollars. I’ll have more on this as soon as it’s finalized.

If You’re Living Here, Concierge Group Health Insurance in Thailand is probably the best deal around: Providing we can round up enough clients, you’ll get a 20% discount when you join and at each annual renewal. If we get even more members signed up we’ll ask for an even bigger discount and/or request additional benefits. As usual, premiums are calculated by age BUT, providing you join before 75, you’ll be able to keep your coverage indefinitely. You can join at any time of the year because policies are not prorated.

Group Health Insurance Rates 1

Group Health Rates 2
Group Health Rates Thailand

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Here’s my health insurance in Thailand story

My Thailand medical insurance adventure began when I injured my hand last week doing something stupid. It hurt like crazy and swelled up as though there was a golf ball under my skin.

Hoping that the pain would pass, I prescribed painkillers for myself by going to the nearest pharmacy, pointing to my swollen hand, and miming agony. The pharmacist, like most Thai pharmacists, spoke English and prescribed two medications, one to reduce the swelling and the other to knock out the pain: 12 each of Sumidin and Brustan, for which I paid a total of 120 Bt ($4.00).

Hand X-Rays Thailand
Hand X-Rays Thailand

They worked well but the hand remained weak and unusable. So I checked in to Chiang Mai University’s Medical Center. The receptionist directed me to the 13th. floor where a charming orthopedic surgeon examined the hand tenderly. “I don’t think it’s broken but let’s take an X-Ray to be certain,” he said and dispatched me with a nurse who took me down 10 floors to Radiology. She chatted charmingly with me all the way down and back. By the time we returned the orthopedic surgeon had my X-Ray up on his monitor (no film). He pointed out some old damage to my cartilage and told me that the wrist would have to be immobilized for 2-4 weeks in a wrist brace. Here’s how it worked out when I went to the desk to pay, 90 minutes after I arrived:

Most governments discourage overseas payment of pensions and all refuse to extend medical coverage to their expat citizens. But Thailand’s Swedish expat community is leading the charge to change this. Swedish expats in Hua Hin and Phuket wrote Gabriel Wikström, Swedish Minister for Health, expressing their discontent about Swedish national health insurance not covering health services in Thailand. Svenskar in Udon (Swedes living in Udon) has now followed suit. Udon Thani Swedish expat Sven Arne Hedell said his fellow Swedes are are all retired, all live in Northeast Thailand and have all paid the Swedish SINK-Skatt, a flat 20% income tax (compared to the common 60%) Swedes can apply for if they want to live abroad. It entitles them to Swedish health care – but only in Sweden and only for emergencies. Their idea is to get emergency care coverage extended abroad, on the basis that’s it’s much cheaper for Sweden than, say, a skin cancer patient flying back for treatment in Sweden, as they currently do. The same reasoning goes for expats from the USA, the UK and Australia. Perhaps we should join forces and get our rich country governments to extend their coverage to overseas citizens’ emergencies.? Talk about a win-win.

If you’re interested in the Thailand medical scene and are considering seeking treatment here, watch this (Russian-produced) video about Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. The visuals say it all:

Insurance

Make sure you understand how medical insurance works in the Kingdom by reading this book. In the meantime, if you’re ill or seriously injured and don’t have travel insurance just go to the nearest government hospital. It is the policy of every public hospital to take care of anyone needing medical care – Thais, tourists, expats, migrant workers alike. Public hospitals don’t do house calls, so call 1669 for an ambulance to transport you to hospital. The service is free. If any payment is required for additional services the public hospital staff will inform you. For example, if you call an ambulance and the hospital decides that the call was not an emergency prepare to be charged. Charges are modest and you can pay with a credit card.

Medical Insurance in Thailand
Medical Insurance in Thailand

Regardless of whether you use a public or private ambulance, provide as much information – your location, address and medical state – as possible so that the staff are ready for you. On our first day with them we take our Concierge clients to their nearest private hospital and get the phone number for their ambulance service, then enter the number in their mobile phone. Then we give them our 24-hour Thai/English emergency service number for good measure.

Accident insurance may be about to become universal – and free – for visitors to Thailand. The Ministry of Public Health has announced that anyone – Thai or foreign – injured in a traffic accident will be afforded medical care in government hospitals henceforth. So far, reports have been mixed: several hospitals have refused to provide care (beyond basic stabilization) to injured farangs because no mechanism has yet been established to reimburse them. The trend is favorable for us expats because the government has made progress towards compulsorily insuring Foreign Visitors to Thailand. This week Thailand’s Minister of Public Health got agreement in principle to require all foreign tourists to buy health insurance before they arrive in the country. As things stand, the Thai government gets stuck with the bill for uninsured visitors who get sick, injured, or die while they’re in the country.

Following the Thai principle of ‘foreigner pays’, this will be addressed by requiring proof of insurance as part of clearing Immigration at all ports of entry. The Thai government, which has a good, free, national insurance program for citizens, will also work with neighboring countries to set up similar schemes. This will allow some form of coverage for migrant workers, too, millions of whom are attracted by Thailand’s booming economy and its 1% unemployment rate. While this development does not immediately affect expatriates, it opens a crack the door to their potential, paid participation in the national insurance program – something that several of us have been advocating for years.

Instant Thailand Travel Insurance Online

You can now buy Thailand Travel Insurance Online. Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) worked out a deal with Thailand’s top medical insurers (Muang Thai, Chao Phaya, Siam City and Krungthai Panich Insurance) and now offer “instant travel insurance exclusively for foreign tourists” visiting Thailand. It’s online, convenient, and provides instant coverage. After you make your online payment, the insurance policy arrives in your inbox immediately. Premiums start at 650 Baht and the highest sum insured is 1,000,000 Baht ($33,000 USD). Coverage includes

Click Here to Buy Thailand Travel Insurance On Line

Click Here to Download the Claim Form

Click Here to Download the Book

Instant Thailand Travel Insurance Coverage

Travel Insurance Coverage Rates
Travel Insurance Coverage Rates

Click here to go to Muang Thai Travel Insurance Site..

Travel Insurance Conditions

Medical and Travel Assistance Services

*Service provided by Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) Allianz Global Assistance (Tel. +66 2 342 3255)

Making a Claim

From the policy: A valid insurance policy protects you against a range of possible misfortunes as outlined in your policy wording. If you suffer a claim event during your period of cover, please contact us as soon as possible by calling us on tel:66023423255+66 (0) 2342 3255. If you are hospitalized, please contact us as quickly as possible so that we may approve any medical costs incurred and provide the hospital with a payment guarantee. You must give us any information we ask for to support your claim, such as police reports, valuations, medical reports, original receipts or proof of ownership. We will settle your claims in Thai Baht. The rate of currency exchange that will apply is the rate at the time you incurred the expense. For your convenience and whether possible, we will pay hospital bills directly with the hospital. If you can claim from anyone else, we will only make up the difference. If you can make a claim against someone in relation to a loss or expense covered under your policy and you do not get paid the full amount of your claim, we will make up the difference. You must claim from them first. If you have any queries, please read our Travel Claims FAQs. You may also contact Claims Department at:

Who is Eligible?

You can contact Allianz Insurance  by email: [email protected] or call +66 (0) 2342 3255. They will send you a claim form and advise you of any document required to action your claim and submit it accordingly together with all documents.

What if it’s an emergency?

Contact Allianz Global Assistance and their team will help you with your emergency. These numbers appear on your Certificate of Insurance and also on Allianz’s  Contact Us page.

How do I do if I’m injured overseas and need to evacuate?

You have to notify directly to Allianz Global Assistance, emergency medical assistance service provider, their staff will arrange for emergency medical evacuation or repatriation to your home country.

What kind of documentation is required to process my claim?

You have to notify and send the original documents such as medical receipts, receipts, medical certificate and police’s report. You can find full details in your insurance policy.

Can I buy more than one policy for the same trip?

No, you can only be covered by ONE policy for the same trip.

Video About Medical Insurance in Thailand: The Book

Click Here to Download the Book.

Click here to find out about buying cheap meds in Thailand.

Homeowners’ Insurance in Thailand

Homeowners and renters can purchase this insurance.
Owners will find that a bank only requires them to insure the amount outstanding on the mortgage. Purchasing additional insurance to cover the rest of your house and belongings is worthwhile if you suffer a catastrophic loss.
Even if you rent a house, you are exposing yourself to a risk of loss. If the house is damaged or destroyed. You will have to compensate the owner for his loss.
Fire, windstorm, earthquake, water damage, land slide, bushfire…etc.
Most policies include some burglary cover and additional cover is available.
Electrical injury to appliances.
Personal liability cover against third party claims in your house.

Repairs to burglar’s point of entry.
Allowance for temporary accommodation while your house is being repaired.
Fire insurance alone costs 0.15% premium for the insured value of the house.
Burglary insurance for additional high-value items, costs 1.5% of the sum insured.

Here’s the AXA Insurance site that explains the rates and coverage. And here’s the AIG Insurance site for home coverage..

And if you’d like to read more on the subject (which I strongly recommend) look no further than here:

Just need medical care? Click here

 

11 Responses

  1. Pingback: My Thailand Medical Adventure | Chiang Mai Expat Guides
  2. I am interested in the Concierge Group Health Insurance outlined above. I am living in Korat and reside in Thailand on a Spousal Visa. Please forward details of the cost of the programs outlined,

  3. Godfree,

    I like the idea of the group plan, what would costs be for male 56 and female 55 be please.

    Cheers, Nick

  4. We come to Chiang Mai for 3 to 5 months per year and use the Travel Insurance provided as part of a credit card attribute of an australian bank (Westpac), which has a 6 month coverage. Im happy with the policy details, but unsure an Insurance valid under the proposed laws ? .. thanks .. Allan

    1. Allan,

      The main questions are:
      1. What does your Westpac coverage provide and what does it exclude?

      2. Can you present proof of coverage at the airport?

  5. I am interested in insurance for my husband who is 66. I am having difficulty finding him a health insurance because of his age.

  6. Hi, I would subscribe a travel insurance for my parents visit for 2 months. Both are over 70. Any suggestion.
    Thanks in advance and congrats for useful info you’ve been providing.
    Brgds
    Stefano

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