Health Insurance for Expats Over 50 in Thailand. Your Complete Guide!

20 Feb 2019

Health insurance for over 50’s in Thailand

Thailand continues to see an increase in expats from around the world calling it home. If you are over 50 and living in Thailand and looking at medical insurance then read on. This article covers the main topics and provides the answers to the questions you need to know when you buy health insurance in Thailand.

So what's the main reason for main reason for getting health insurance?

As an expat living abroad its important that you want to protect yourself against costly medical bills. To many expats who are used to a government healthcare system that covers them for free in their home country the concept of paying out of pocket for your own private care is somewhat of a new concept.

If you work in Thailand you will be given a social insurance card and then assigned to a government hospital where you can receive medical care. That said the government facilities are in a poor state and for most Expats who are over 50 it can mean that you are retiring in Thailand. This then means that you will not be able to rely on the government hospitals as a provision for your medical care and you will have to pay yourself each and every time you need to seek medical care.

The blunt facts are that as we all get older the more likely we are to require medical care. It is because of this making sure that you have adequate cover in place particularly as get older is something that really is important.

 What type of cover do I need?

Many expats in Thailand prefer to take out international health insurance plans. These plans, offered by international insurers based around the world, provide the highest level of coverage out of any type of plan available in Thailand.

If you plan on returning home for medical care or visiting the international hospitals in Bangkok, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Phuket or anywhere else in Thailand, it would be beneficial to secure an international plan. Aside from medical coverage, many international medical insurance plans also offer the ability to cover dental and optical along with wellness benefits, including health check-ups.

In short having an international health insurer in Thailand will allow you to go to any medical facility which is a huge benefit. Many domestic Thai medical insurers do not allow this free choice and you will have to go to a specific facility that they allow. Very often we see the most recognizable hospitals not included on these lists such as Bumrungrad, Bangkok Hospital and Samitivej.

With each insurer you can choose between different insurance packages depending on what kind of coverage you need. It is important to bear in mind, the difference between out-patient coverage and in-patient coverage. In-patient coverage is less expensive and means you are treated in hospital, then discharged and you take your medicine home. Out-patient treatment is more expensive and involves a stay in the hospital for surgery or observation. A good way to manage the costs for medical insurance in Thailand is to select just a hospitalization only plan and cover yourself for major accidents and operations as well as things like cancer.

When shopping for insurance policies, pay attention to the exclusion list and pre-existing health problems that are not accepted. These vary from each insurer and can often seem confusing. When filling out your application form, you must be completely honest about your health history to avoid any claims being denied later on. We always suggest speaking to an expert if you are unsure of anything related to any exclusion in advance of purchasing any policy.

 Pre-existing Conditions

As we get older, we are more likely to need to see a doctor than when we are in our younger year. The odds are that most people in their 50’s 60’s and 70’s looking at buying medical insurance have or have had a pre-existing medical condition.

When it comes to pre-existing conditions and applying for insurance one of three things will happen.

1.      The insurer will exclude the condition as it is seen as an existing risk.

2.      The insurer will look at the condition and cover it, determine the risk of the condition to be low and cover it for the standard premium quoted.

3.      The insurer will cover the condition as above however apply a premium loading to the cost. This could mean you paying an extra 10-20% more of the standard cost to cover your condition.

It is really important to note that every insurer has a different appetite to pre-existing conditions and this can again vary depending on what that specific condition is and how long ago you had it. We would always suggest if you are thinking of getting something pre-existing covered to speak with a broker and outline the condition in full so they can use their expertise to make a recommendation that is the best fit for you.

What Are The Restrictions To Be Aware Of?

With some insurers age restrictions will apply and this is really important to be aware of. Most insurers will have an age limit on the maximum age that someone can be when they join however there are a few insurers have no restriction on age on new members joining. All international insurers on our website will offer you renewal terms no matter what age you are. This is important to give you peace of mind as it means that an insurer can’t kick you off the cover due to age. This is something that we see very often with local Thai medical insurance providers and is something to keep in mind when sourcing your policy.

The Issue With Travel Insurance As An Expat Living In Thailand, Don’t Get Fooled!

"So, my friend has a travel insurance policy and he says that covers him in Thailand?"

Well the fact is unfortunately travel insurance plans are designed to provide travellers with short-term health coverage while they are outside of their home country. If there is a medical emergency, the plan will cover medical care with the goal of seeing you repatriated to your home country.

This is great if you are not living in Thailand however if you are then in short, they will not give you the cover you need. If you need to see a regular doctor or you require and operation then a travel policy just will not cover that medical cost. If you are diagnosed with a critical illness like cancer this would not be covered on a travel policy and you would be left paying a very costly bill.

It is important to note here that the vast majority of travel insurance plans need to be secured before you leave your home country. If you are currently living in Thailand, you will not be able to secure a travel insurance plan that covers care in Thailand.

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