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Do you need health insurance before going to Thailand?

Yes. As a matter of fact, it’s generally a good idea to have health insurance in Thailand or whether you are visiting a foreign country for a few days only or planning to stay there longer. Costs of medical services abroad can be high, and the last thing you want to do is to worry about your budget when traveling or moving to a new place. Read on to learn more about your option of health insurance in Thailand.

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General health information for expats traveling to Thailand

Thailand is not classified as a country with high health-related risks. However, before going to the Land of Smiles, it’s important you keep up to date with your vaccinations, especially all routine ones, as well as for the diseases that are spread through water and food such as typhoid and Hepatitis A. You may also be exposed to diseases transmitted by mosquito bites that would require specialized hospitalization. Read more about Thailand’s healthcare insurance on our website.

With insurance, you might need to see a doctor. If this happens, here is an overview of the hospital system in Thailand:

Public hospitals

Public hospitals are in good condition in Thailand, although they might be below European or American standards, especially outside of Bangkok. Staff in public hospitals often speak little to no English at all, which can make receiving care in such places very difficult, especially for expats.

Private hospitals

Thailand is one of the leading medical tourism destinations in Asia, and people from around the world prefer to visit private hospitals in Thailand. These hospitals are excellent but expensive and are usually your go-to places in case of emergency. Staff in private hospitals speak good English and will be able to assist patients and liaise effectively with your insurance company.

What kind of Thailand health insurance options are there?

The different health insurance options for expats going to Thailand include:

Travel insurance

If you’re planning short-term holidays, your best option is to get a travel insurance. Bear in mind that you’d be only covered for emergency medical services in Thailand, or around the world if you choose to buy international travel insurance. We recommend that you select a plan that will cover care at the private healthcare hospitals as you may have a hard time explaining your condition to a doctor in a local hospital. Don’t forget to visit a doctor in your home country before traveling to the Land of Smiles to get recommended vaccinations if you’re missing any.

Local Thai health insurance

Local plans, of course, often appear affordable, but they tend to have low coverage limits and strict restrictions. This can cause a problem should you need to seek medical care, which can be costly.

For example, some local plans offer coverage of only THB 2,000 for inpatient services. In our experience medical care, especially after an accident, can cost way beyond THB 30,000. This means that you will be paying at least THB 28,000 out of your pocket.

However, a local plan might still be an option for you if you’re not planning to travel often, and you don’t have any pre-existing conditions, or know enough Thai to communicate effectively with a local doctor.

International health insurance in Thailand

This is a preferred option if you are planning to travel abroad or even travel home for medical services, either alone or with your family during your stay in Thailand. International plans have usually higher levels of coverage than local plans and will allow you to use services of luxurious Thai clinics and hospitals without worrying about the medical costs.

Another benefit of international health insurance is that it usually has an option for additional coverage such as dental, vision, or wellness.

One of the biggest advantages of international health insurance plan is that they are usually sourced from the biggest and most reliable insurers, who have large networks of hospitals and specialist in almost every country.

When and where can you buy health insurance for Thailand?

With some plans, especially international health insurance, you will be covered before even leaving your home country.

With travel insurance, you should be aware that, you can’t buy it to cover you in Thailand if you are already in the country.

If you are considering a local plan, you will need to have a Thai address or be physically in Thailand.

One last point to consider is the price and the insurer. Plans will cover generally the same types of care, however, they will have drastically different limits and premiums. This means it is important to compare plans before leaving your home country for Thailand.

Pacific Prime is a licensed insurance broker company, we work with a range of insurers to prepare and present the best suited private health insurance options for expats in Thailand. Feel free to contact us today for a free insurance plans quotation.

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Content Writer at Pacific Prime Thailand
Elwira Skrybus is a content writer at Pacific Prime. In her everyday work, she is utilizing her previous social media and branding experience to create informative articles, guides, and reports to help our readers simplify the sometimes-puzzling world of international health insurance.

When she isn’t writing, you are most likely to find Elwira in search of the perfect plant-based burger or enjoying Hong Kong’s great outdoors either at the beach or from the boat - the closer to the sea, the better!