Many expatriates choose to get a retirement visa and spend their golden age in the Land of Smiles, and for a host of good reasons. From majestic landscapes, scenic beaches, affordable living costs, proximity to other countries, to convenient transportation and excellent healthcare standards, the list can go on and on. In fact, Thailand is such a common retirement destination that recently a group of Swedes even pushed their government to provide health insurance coverage for retirees in Thailand.
Indeed, it is getting more likely that you develop health conditions of different severity as you age. As such, it is of paramount importance for you to plan ahead and secure a proper health insurance policy for your later years. In this article sponsored by Pacific Prime Thailand, we’ll cover on the healthcare services in Thailand, and things you should consider when selecting the right health insurance for your retirement.
The healthcare services in Thailand
You are not eligible for the highly praised Thailand’s public healthcare sector – Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) unless you’re currently working. As a retiree, you’re most likely to go for the private healthcare sector. There has always been a significant input of investment in this sector, allowing the country to maintain high standards of private care and a reputation as an international medical tourism hotspot in Southeast Asia. Moreover, you usually only need to pay a fraction of the price for equivalent medical insurance for example in America or the UK.
How to select the right retiree health insurance?
There are a number of factors you should take into account when shopping for a health insurance policy for your retirement in Thailand.
Despite the relatively affordable insurance costs in Thailand, insurers tend to charge higher premiums as we age to defray the increasing health risks. That’s why it is always advisable to purchase long term health insurance as early as possible. The later you join a plan, the more expensive it will be.
For example, there are usually drastic increases in premiums when one shifts from the 55-60 age group to the 61-65 age group. In contrast, if you enroll before 60, you can get guaranteed renewal for life in most cases.
It does not mean there’s no way you can get insured after 65, just that your insurer may attach some conditions (such as deductibles) in the policy to help offset part of your premium, or refuse to renew your coverage after a certain age.
Pre-existing conditions coverage
As you age, you may acquire more health conditions such as hypertension, which will be regarded as pre-existing if you buy a new insurance policy rather than renewing one. Some insurers may refuse to cover any pre-existing conditions at all, while some others are willing to do so at an additional premium. As such, you may say the rule of thumb is to enroll early. There are usually fewer conditions when you’re young and hence a broader scope of coverage.
Major insurers are considered reliable because they have more insured members and hence larger risk pools. Because of that, it is less likely for them to have volatile premium increases. Furthermore, more reputable insurers tend to provide better customer services, such as faster response time and claim processes.
In contrast, some less reputable insurers may lure customers with lower prices at the beginning, only to impose drastic premium increases at renewal to compensate for the losses. If you can’t afford the new premiums, you can only choose to switch insurers, and any conditions you developed with the previous insurer will be regarded as pre-existing and excluded from coverage by the new insurer.
Where to receive treatment?
You may opt for Thailand-only coverage or international health insurance coverage. To some people, international coverage is better because, despite the incredibly high standards of local medical care, they may still want to receive treatment back home and be close to their friends and family. Furthermore, international health insurance has a broader provider network, giving the policyholder more options for quality medical facilities. For more information on international health insurance, you can read our International Private Medical Insurance report – 2018.
Review your insurance options with experts
Still feeling undecided? Got more questions? Given all the jargons and terms in different insurance policies, it is indeed a cumbersome and tiring challenge to make the decision all by yourself. In this case, the best approach is to engage the help of an independent broker such as Pacific Prime Thailand. To learn more about the retiree health insurance in Thailand, contact us today!