Guide to Getting Health Insurance on Koh Phangan

21 Mar 2022

Being a tourist or an expat is already challenging enough. You have many things to think about and figure out because you are in an unfamiliar country. Your health should not be among the concerns. Health insurance can help you have one less thing to worry about. It grants you peace of mind, an invaluable benefit.

The cost of medical service and medication can be very high and add up quickly. With health insurance, you can rest assured that you will have access to the healthcare you need without suffering financial strain on top of you or your loved one’s physical pain. In addition, it guarantees you and your family will get the treatment you need.

The unfortunate reality is that it does not matter how strong, healthy, and cautious you (and your spouse and children if you have a family) are. You never know what is going to happen. Anyone is susceptible to sickness or an accident. Furthermore, any serious inpatient treatment requiring surgery can be extremely expensive.

Health Insurance Requirements for Visas

Those looking to obtain a retirement visa or long-stay non-immigrant O-A visa from their home country are required to show evidence of a health insurance policy for eligibility. The policy should cover the holder for a minimum of 400,000 Baht ($13,400) inpatient costs and 40,000 Baht ($1340) outpatient costs.

When you first come to Thailand from your home country, this policy can be from either an insurance provider in your country or one in Thailand. However, when you go to renew (get your yearly extension) at the immigration office within Thailand, it will have to be a policy from an approved Thai insurance company. The approved providers include AXA Insurance Thailand, Asia Insurance, Aetna, Dhipaya, Falcon, LMG, Navakij, Pacific Cross, Thaivivat, The Viriyah, and Sompo Insurance. You will be required to present all the original documents to the immigration officials so obtain your policy well beforehand.

The Easy Way To Obtain Health Insurance

The easiest way to obtain your policy if you are in Thailand already is to go to an insurance broker and let them do all the legwork for you. Save yourself time by calling them before you go to their office and finding out what documents they will need to see. When they show you policy options, take the time to examine the fine print (especially the exclusions).

An insurance broker can also help those seeking private health insurance. So, if you aren’t retired and do not have a work permit (or do have a work permit but would like to have more options of where you can go for medical treatment), consult a broker about private health insurance options. With private health insurance, you can go to private and public hospitals or clinics. Most of the time, you will have to pay for the treatment cost upfront and file for reimbursement by the insurer.

You can purchase a domestic or international plan. The domestic one is limited to within Thailand borders. The international one covers other countries within the scope of the policy. 

Lastly, with health insurance, sometimes it isn’t the best choice to automatically go for the cheapest thing. Also, opt for a company with a good reputation even if they are more expensive because some insurers will do everything they can to avoid paying a claim.

COVID19 Health Insurance

Retirees and people getting special visas aren’t the only ones that need health insurance today. Now it is mandatory for anyone traveling to Thailand (all ages and visa types) to have health insurance because of the coronavirus pandemic. You have to show proof of a policy upon arrival (the certificate of insurance). It must cover a minimum of 750,000 Baht ($20,000) of medical expense due to accidents or illnesses including COVID19 for the entire duration of your stay.

This is part of the requirements for the Thailand pass. You will not be allowed in the country without it. So, triple-check that you have the right policy because sometimes the policy was sufficient for you to receive your visa is not enough to cover COVID19 and permit you entry into Thailand. This COVID19 health insurance is in addition to the general health insurance policy you needed to get your visa.

This is because nearly all standard health insurance policies do not cover the insured against pandemics. As a result, the Thai government is left with the problem of hospital bills from foreigners who cannot pay for their COVID19 treatment and quarantine. Since September 2019, the total for unpaid hospital bills has reached 448 million Baht ($14.9M), according to the public health ministry of Thailand’s figures. The economy is struggling enough as it is due to the outbreak’s effects on exports and tourism.

AXA Thailand is one of the main COVID-19 insurance providers. They provide Inbound Travel Insurance, which covers COVID-19 as required for anyone entering the country. You can purchase it from them online. Make sure to do it several days before you travel to ensure they have enough time to send you the all-important certificate of coverage. You will need to show this document to the airline before you board and to the Thai authorities when you arrive. You can pick a policy that is anywhere from 30 days to one year; just make sure it covers the entire period of your stay or you will be refused entry.

Public Health Insurance for Working Expats

 

Foreigners employed in Thailand are enrolled in the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS), which provides free healthcare through contributions deducted from their salary. Under the UCS, 5% of a worker’s salary goes into the Thai social security scheme, which funds the public Thailand health insurance network. Being enrolled in this system means you can receive free treatment at an assigned local hospital. All you have to do is show your ID and SSN. Bear in mind if you go anywhere else for treatment, you will have to pay out-of-pocket. Also, you will lose the free healthcare privilege if you lose your job.

Health Insurance for Families

Relocating to a country with a new language and different customs can be as intimidating as it is rewarding. The experience can be extra stressful for expecting and parenting families needing to adjust to a new lifestyle and secure a smooth transition for their little ones. Providing them with comprehensive health insurance can help because, otherwise, healthcare services can be very expensive in Thailand. 

Luma offers quality medical insurance that covers all family members at top medical facilities across Southeast Asia and covers:

  • Mothers throughout pregnancy and childbirth delivery
  • The baby during its first days following birth, including post-natal treatments
  • Baby and child vaccinations and immunization schedule
  • Children’s routine checkups and treatments with specialized pediatricians
  • Vision care (eye examination and tests) for all parents and their children
  • Dental care for parents and their children

Luma even offers an additional discount (20% off) for families with 4+ members. In addition, you can add your partner to your insurance policy even if you are not married.

AXA also offers child health insurance plans for kids aged 1 to 17. However, it is only for residents of Thailand.

Group Health Insurance for Employees

Luma also offers group health insurance for your employees if you decide to start a business in Thailand. Providing your workers with health insurance is one of the most valued benefits you can provide. It ensures loyalty and employee retention and keeps your people healthy so they are more productive. You can get their group insurance with as few as 3 employees in your workforce. Furthermore, one plan can cover staff working in different locations across Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam.

Which Health Insurance Should You Choose?

Your specific needs and preferences will dictate which type of health insurance is best for you. Sometimes, a combination of public social security insurance and a private insurance scheme is necessary to cover any emergency that may happen and ensure you are well taken care of and comfortable.

Health Insurance Cost in Thailand

For private health insurance: your age, the amount of coverage you want, how many people are included in your plan, and whether you want a domestic or international plan all affects the cost of a health insurance policy. For instance, younger people usually can pay less than senior citizens; the more coverage, the more costly; a policy with three children and a partner will cost more than one child and partner; international plans cost more than domestic.

For public health insurance: the cost depends on your income. The money (5%) is taken from your salary as social security contributions. If you are self-employed, you can enroll voluntarily into the social security scheme and pay their premium to get public healthcare coverage.

In Conclusion

 Thailand is a very safe country, but anything can happen unexpectedly even in the most secure locations. Therefore, it would be wise to select a policy that can help you no matter what happens instead of choosing the cheapest option. In the end, the cheapest plan might be far more expensive if it doesn’t cover you when you need it and you get stuck with a massive doctor’s bill.

If choosing a policy is confusing, seek an agent’s assistance so you can enjoy your time living in Thailand without worry. Because of the pandemic, insurance is now mandatory so you have to deal with this hunt no matter what – minas well make it work for you.