Top five tips for choosing health insurance in Thailand
Anybody who starts looking into health insurance inevitably ends up asking: “Why is it so complicated!” It’s true, no matter where you are in the world, and health insurance in Thailand is no exception, it’s a problematic area for a layperson to navigate with success.
It can be arduous picking the right policy for your needs, lifestyle and budget, but the search will be worth it when you find the right one. To help you out, we’ve compiled this quick guide with the five key things you’ll need to consider when selecting a great value health insurance plan for you and your family.
1. Only get covered for what you need
Health insurance can be a comprehensive product that covers you for virtually every medical expense under the sun. Or, it can be a simple product that covers only the basic necessities. For example, do you need both inpatient and outpatient coverage? Do you need maternity, dental, optometry and annual health check-ups? Do you need international medical repatriation? Your circumstances may demand some things over others; keep in mind that a pared-down policy will be significantly cheaper.
2. Consider out-of-pocket costs
A good plan should clearly spell-out how much you will have to pay ‘out-of-pocket’ for services, for example, deductibles and copayments. In general, the lower your premium, the higher your out-of-pocket costs. A plan that pays a higher portion of your medical expenses (but has a higher monthly premium) may be better if you see a specialist frequently; are expecting or plan to have a baby; regularly take expensive medications; have planned surgery coming up; or you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition.
3. Know the claims process
Trust us on this one, you are going to want to choose a health insurance in Thailand provider with the most streamlined and efficient claims process possible. Nowadays, most insurers offer direct billing at hospitals in their network, which eliminates the painful process of manually submitting claim forms and receipts. Be aware that when it comes to claims, most providers impose waiting periods (i.e., how long before you can claim) and annual limits (i.e., how much you can claim throughout the year).
4. Compare health plan networks
If you have a preferred doctor or health care facility you want to keep attending, make sure they are in the network directory for the plan you are considering. If you do not have a preferred doctor/hospital, look for a plan with a large network, so you have more choice. A more extensive network is essential if you plan to travel or live abroad since you will be more likely to need medical assistance in unknown cities/countries.
5. Reassess annually and/or when circumstance change
Re-evaluating your health insurance in Thailand annually means you will always be covered by the best possible policy in alignment with your current circumstances and means. If you got a big pay rise, started doing international travel or added a new member to the family in the past 12 months, it will be time to change your policy. Or perhaps your provider instigated a premium rate rise or stopped providing a service you relied upon (i.e., direct hospital billing). Either way, you have the freedom to switch plans and/or providers.