Settling in a new country with a different culture and climate can sometimes be burdensome and filled with challenges. This blog piece is going to be part of our Expat Case Study Stories series where we share experiences of people (expats) who relocated overseas to live or work in different settings. You will discover what it is like to live or work in another country as an expat.
Brandon is a senior factory consultant living in Pattaya, Thailand, is mindful of what it is like to live a retiree life in another country. 11 years ago, Brandon was a resident in Los Angeles. He was a single guy back then. Every long holiday he liked to visit Thailand, especially Pattaya city. (Read our expat guide to Medical Care in Thailand here)
By June of 2009, he had replaced Los Angeles’s more urban views for the coastal location of Pattaya city where every day is like vacation to him. “I settled here because I was promoted to a new job title as Senior Advisor for the Pattaya branch of a manufacturing conglomerate,” he clarifies.
“I reckoned it would be a great cultural and financial opportunity, however, I settled here in Pattaya for the job opportunity. I’m happy I made the decision as I really love it out here.”
In mid 2015, Brandon was unfortunately diagnosed with hypertension. He was active and keen on making sure everything went as alright as possible. He spent time figuring out the available solutions with his existing medical insurance policy.
What Brandon firstly did when he discovered that he had hypertension was select his doctor, something that needed a little careful research.
Choosing the right doctor matters to a great extent in Pattaya because this is the person who will be with you over your entire period of treatment. Learn more about the healthcare system in Pattaya for expats here.
“I believe there’s always plenty of options out there,” he says, “so I spent some time doing Google searches and spotted a good website, where a lot of expatriates living in Pattaya visit for advice for all things related to Pattaya. The hospital where I went to a doctor who specializes in treating hypertension was a top-notch private facility and other seniors with hypertension told me that I would have a great treatment experience there.”
What I could observe was that the hospital was pretty much less crowded was than my previous medical visit back in Los Angeles. It was more of an organized medical appointment and the medical staff . I did not have a feeling that I wanted to return to the US while I went through the treatment period of hypertension.
“In Pattaya, the medical insurance claim procedure is smooth and hassle-free. However, unfortunately, the hospital in which I visited for the hypertension treatment was not included in the medical facility network of the medical insurer I was with, so I had to submit a claim using the method of reimbursement.
The medical policy also required that I pay an amount (which is known as a deductible) first before the health insurer kicks in. In the reimbursement process, firstly, I had to schedule an appointment with the hospital.
Next, I signed up at the hospital prior to receiving the treatment. Then I presented my ID, insurance card, and other requested documents including a claim form. I went through all the paperwork and signed it.
After that I received the treatment, paid the medical bill and collected the claim form from my doctor. Now I could return home and submit the claim form to the health insurer by email and had to wait for the health insurance company to issue payment in bank deposit (this relies on the method you choose when you submit the claim.)
Overall, I felt this was a good experience although if the hospital I visited had been in the hospital network of the health insurer, the experience could have been better with the direct billing method where the medical insurer would settle the payment for you in the first place.”
With the medical insurance plan which I had, the claims process was easy and straightforward. I was covered for all of my hypertension medication and treatment which was brilliant.
Other elder expatriates of mixed nationality that he has talked to have had varied experiences of hypertension in Pattaya, says Brandon, explaining, “It can boil down to the fact that if you have got medical insurance with you or not. The public hospitals in Pattaya are quite good and people who don’t have medical cover have had decent moments, but it was more of a public health system in which your loved ones like your couple are not allowed in the treatment room with you.”
Brandon wraps up his Pattaya hypertension story, “If I had a chance to have conversations with some other seniors who were diagnosed with hypertension while in Pattaya, I would recommend to them that they will have financial peace of mind and security if they have got health insurance with them because the total expense of my medical package was equivalent to thousands of USD of care, which is a huge load of money. I would certainly share with them that if you can afford it then do not miss having medical insurance with you and you won’t regret it because in the end, although the total price of my hypertension medication and treatment was costly, the cost of the premium I paid actually worked out less than the total amount I claimed for.
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