Wherever you are living in the world, if you haven’t got the support of a public healthcare system such as the NHS in the UK, you need private health insurance. There is a misplaced conception that healthcare in Thailand is cheap, and while this may be the case compared to the west, few would be in a position to pay out a few million Thai baht without it negatively impacting their life.
In its simplest terms, health insurance is classed as being “inpatient only” or “comprehensive”. Inpatient only cover means that you would need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment before the insurance company will pay. Subsequent treatment is also unlikely to be covered. Comprehensive cover is exactly that, it’s comprehensive and covers you for inpatient and outpatient treatment. You may need to pay an excess or pay upfront, so it is worth reading the small print. Most insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions.
Thai Insurance Companies
BUPA Thailand should not be confused with BUPA International. Essentially, BUPA Thailand is a local insurance company with reasonable cover. They have some very low-end packages which are not worth taking as so little cover is offered. The comprehensive packages offer excellent protection, although it does stop at 65. They are recognised throughout Thailand but may ask you to pay your hospital bill first, and they reimburse you. It can be challenging when the cost runs into thousands of Thai baht.
AXA Health Insurance
AXA again offers local cover which is more targeted at the Thai market rather than ex-pats. It is readily accepted but offers minimal protection, so choosing which hospital you go to may become your primary concern. Obviously, some insurance is better than no insurance. So, like BUPA Thailand, they shouldn’t be completely ruled out.
Luma Health Insurance
Luma is a local health insurance provider, but they do have packages that are targeted more at the ex-pat market. It is a company that is well regarded with excellent packages. Like for like plans are similarly priced to those offered by ex-pat companies. Again, you should be aware that you may be required to pay upfront so this may influence your thinking.
Pacific Cross is arguably the best of the Thai insurance providers. Their packages are comparable with those offered by the ex-pat providers, and they don’t expect policyholders to pay first. They are recognised nationwide and are often favoured by multinational companies offering group schemes. The claims centre has both Thai and ex-pat representatives, which will mean that your claims are more smoothly processed.
Expat Insurance Companies
Regency for Expats
Regency for Expats offers excellent cover with their packages specifically designed for ex-pats. They will cover Thai family members, but they won’t cover Thai nationals on their own. The protection is excellent, and their claims record is as good as anyone in the business. They have offices in Thailand which again helps claim to get processed faster.
William Russell offers the “all-singing, all-dancing” insurance policy. Their levels of cover are first class as too is their record for processing claims. Naturally, they are considerably more expensive, but you will get that added peace of mind.