Health insurance is on the mind of many foreign residents. That’s partly because the uninsured are not getting any younger and are concerned about they how could manage a serious medical issue.
Retirees are also aware that the introduction of compulsory insurance for their visa renewal has been discussed within government ranks and that age or existing medical conditions may impact upon an ability to arrange a suitable policy.
The proposal states that these foreigners will be required to have Thai insurance policies covering their entire stay in Thailand with a minimum 40,000 THB out-patient and a minimum 400,000 THB in-patient medical bill coverages. Those already having overseas insurance policies that meet the minimum requirement would be exempted from subscribing to Thai insurance policies. They will be able to apply for long-stay visas using their foreign insurance policies, says Dr Kittisak Klapdee, adviser to the Minister of Public Health.
The good news is that health insurance policies are available for the retired in their 50’s and 60’s. You will need to make a disclosure about pre-existing conditions and a medical examination may be required; but you may also be able to secure your insurance policy with less trauma than you expect; including financial trauma. However the world of health insurance has its pitfalls to manage, so here are a few hints about securing a policy that best fits your situation.
1. Fill in an Application
Form That may sound very obvious but many are reluctant to take the first step. They may just investigate as best they can via internet searches or even talking across the counter with an agent or company. The problem is that until an insurance company receives your signed declaration; there cannot be a real quote, including any special conditions, or confidence that the advice you may have received is correct.
Completing an application doesn’t mean there should be any payment made in advance of the proposal being accepted and then immediate coverage in the case of accidents or 30 days later for illnesses the coverage commences. There really is no good reason to pay before you buy and an application form alone is not a commitment or binding in any way. Privacy requirements about any disclosures made apply to the licensed agents and insurance companies. Life Insurance is not the same as there is no 30 day waiting period before a claim can be made.
2. Know Who You Are Dealing With;
Especially Licensing The Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) is the Thailand regulator controlling the insurance industry, including licensing requirements. Insurance companies will only accept health insurance proposals from licensed brokers; that is agents with a health insurance license (known as ‘non-life) issued by the OIC, not a life insurance license or any other certification. These licenses are only available to Thai people who are required to undertake training and accept decisions made in adjudicating disputes.
If you are dealing with a foreign agent, he or she will not be the policy proposer. That means they won’t be able to directly represent your interest with either the OIC or the insurance provider. That will be someone ‘behind the scenes’ who you may never have met. The OIC does not become involved if the insurance company is not a Thai company; therefore a policy with an overseas company can make the policy-holder vulnerable if a claim is disputed without a Thai adjudicator able to be involved. Of course many international companies qualify having established their Thai company legal requirements.
3. Group Policies There is a growing trend for groups, often for those who share a particular profile, to negotiate a lower rate with the insurance agent or provider. This may seem like a good deal but be careful to read the ‘fine print’. One very substantial insurance company openly states “No Claim Discount – This will be offered to persons who are not entitled to a Group Discount and remains claims free”. To be involved in a Group Policy you need to know the implications of claims made by other members. Do they affect your no claim discount or even lead to a future premium surcharge if the claims of others are seen to be excessive?
A Final Word
News about insurance requirements related to visa applications and renewals has been very quiet lately including some of the detail. Of course a change of government and even a new head of the Immigration Department may, in part, explain this silence. However there may also be a dawning of administrative obstacles to overcome, including the verification of policies carried by overseas companies; how will they be verified as current and real?
In the meantime health insurance for the financial protection of foreign residents is something that shouldn’t be ignored. Before it’s too late; find your reputable agent and get your coverage ASAP! Source -Royal Coast Review