Health Insurance for Foreigners in Thailand
There are several reasons why medical insurance for foreigners in Thailand is not just a good idea but a crucial matter to consider for several reasons. Even though hospital treatment is cheap in Thailand by Western, particularly American standards, any serious inpatient treatment such as surgery or cancer treatments, for example, can be painfully expensive at a top-notch hospital and can swiftly put a huge strain on your finances. Also, retired expats now need to show health insurance documentation to be eligible for their yearly retirement extensions, so let’s take a look at some of the key points to consider when choosing a policy.
Foreign or Thai Insurance Policy?
When you first come to Thailand, you may already hold comprehensive travel or medical insurance from your home country. Expats who wish to obtain the long-stay non-immigrant O-A visa from their home country will need to show evidence of a health insurance policy which covers the holder for 40,000 Baht ($1340) outpatient and 400,000 Baht ($13,400) inpatient costs as a minimum. This policy can be from an insurance provider in your home country or one in Thailand. However, an important point to note is that once you come to obtain your yearly extension at an immigration office in Thailand, it will need to be from an approved Thai insurance company, something to be aware of if you are considering purchasing a new policy before travelling.
The outbreak of COVID-19 caused the Thai government to bring in new regulations meaning that anyone travelling to Thailand, regardless of age, will be required to show an insurance policy with coverage of a minimum of $100,000 of medical treatment, including COVID-19 coverage, upon arrival at the airport. It will also need to cover you whilst in Thailand for the entire duration of your stay, if it doesn’t meet all of these requirements then you won’t be allowed to enter the country so it’s vital to check and double-check your policy before travelling. Just because your current policy was sufficient for your embassy to issue you with a visa does not mean that it will cover COVID-19, so if unsure contact an insurance provider to confirm this.
Insurance for Non-Immigrant OA Visa
As mentioned, a policy from your home country would likely have been enough to obtain your initial visa to enter Thailand, but when you attend your local immigration to obtain your one-year retirement extension, the policy will need to be from an approved Thai insurance provider. The approved providers are: Luma Thailand, LMG, The Viriyah, Pacific Cross, Falcon, Thaivivat, AXA, Navakij, Dhipaya, Asia Insurance, Aetna and. Sompo Insurance
You will need to obtain your policy in plenty of time as you will be required to present all of the original documents when applying for your extension. Again, the policy will need to cover as an absolute minimum 40,000 Baht outpatient and 400,000 Baht inpatient costs.
Note: Foreigners with a retirement visa based on a Non-immigrant O visa will not be required to have health Insurance by Immigration Bureau.
How to Obtain Your Policy
If you’re in Thailand already, the easiest option is to go to an insurance broker and have them do all the legwork for you, ring ahead to make an appointment and find out what documents they want to see. There are insurance brokers in every Thai town and if you are in an area popular with tourists and expats it should be easy to find one that speaks English. Alternatively, you can look at the websites for the above companies and use their online tool to obtain a quote after entering your details and choose the provider which offers the best value. Be careful when choosing your policy and don’t just automatically go for the cheapest, take care to examine the fine print, particularly the exclusions. Another important point to consider is the insurer’s reputation, as many will do their utmost to avoid paying any claim, legitimate or not. It’s now fairly easy to research the companies with online review sites being very popular.
Insurance Policy Inclusions
Health Insurance for expatriates and locals living in Thailand may avail the following insurance policy inclusion but not limited to:
- High cover for hospitalization and out-patient
- Full cover for cancer treatments
- Full cover for new chronic conditions
- Dental, maternity and health-check up options
- Pre-existing conditions can be covered if declared and accepted
- Guaranteed renewability
- Multiple international coverage options
- Coverage for congenital anomalies
Insurance Policy Exclusions
It’s important to consider the exclusions of each policy, as most policies come with a long list of them, all written into the fine print. And once you have your policy in place, always be mindful of what you are and are not covered to avoid a financial disaster. Some of the more common exclusions include the following:
- If any false information is provided when applying for your policy, your policy will be null and void (although you might not realise that until you come to make a claim).
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions which you did not declare, then your policy will also be voided.
- Very few policies will cover you for motorcycle accidents. With these being sadly very common in Thailand, with expensive repercussions, never assume you are covered for such events unless you have double-checked with your provider first. Even the ones that do cover you will only pay out if you held a valid Thai motorcycle license or international driving permit, were wearing a helmet, had not drunk any alcohol, and could prove that you were not at fault. If you will be driving a lot then it would make sense to take out a separate policy for this.
- Anything to do with alcohol or alcoholism. If you are an alcoholic or heavy drinker and people know about it, expect the insurer to use a private investigator who will uncover this fact and any claim will be immediately denied. Likewise, if you were even mildly inebriated at the time of the incident they will not payout.
- Any losses caused by a natural disaster (an act of God) or by an act of terrorism will not be covered.
- Any injuries or losses caused by “dangerous activities” such as rock climbing, water sports or even cycling will usually not be covered. This can even go as far as any sports altogether, but policies vary on this so check when applying if you intend to engage in any kind of sport or activity.
- Sexually transmitted diseases are likely to not be covered by most policies unless specifically stated. HIV treatment can be particularly expensive so that’s something to consider if you are sexually active.
Get a Quote
Although Thailand is generally a very safe country, things can and do sometimes go wrong, no matter how healthy or cautious you consider yourself to be. Taking your time to select the policy that matches your needs instead of just choosing the cheapest option will be time and money very well spent. Choosing a policy can be confusing, so if in doubt, head to an agent who will assist you every step of the way, enabling you to enjoy your time in Thailand without worry. With insurance now mandatory to enter the country and obtain your visa extension, it’s something which every visitor to Thailand needs to deal with.
You may click on the link below to get a quote for your Health Insurance in Thailand:
LUMA Thailand Health Insurance