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Medical insurance for expats, both Thailand and your home country


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Hi everyone nice to meet you first time poster here from America. My ultimate future goal is to move to Thailand long term preferably Chiang Mai area for cost and also natural beauty. And yes I have visited that area several times.

My plan is to work as much as I can for a few more years until I hit my late 50's. Slowly but surely my body is failing me and I realistically cannot last long enough to collect social security at 62 years of age. I did the numbers and I should have enough saved and invested to last me until then.

I am starting to do more research on Thailand expats. 

One huge must for me is to have some form of medical insurance in Thailand. Even if it was not mandated by law I have seen too many horror stories of what could happen without it. Since it is not an insignificant expense, my question is would you guys start getting such insurance a few years before actually settling in Thailand? As insurance costs get more expensive the older you get would it not be advantageous to start earlier if possible or is that money lost?

Also, what if for some reason you have to go back to your home country? In my case, Medicare does not kick in until three months after you turn 65. And what about long term care insurance in the event you have to go back home and you need help? My hope is that I can find some LTC facility in Thailand to live the rest of my days out.

Thank you for your ideas.

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The annual costs of insurance policies go up with age.... so no real advantage of getting in early than the cover, BUT you need to get in before the cut off age for new customers... mostly around 75 yo.

Some policies include cover for trips overseas from Thailand, but beware the USA is often excluded due to the high costs there.

There are some care facilities in Thailand these days.... and one could rent a nurse to come to your own place. (http://www.rentanurse.asia/) Generally, I would say Thailand is not a place to be with poor health.... I do not think much of the available insurance, and the better hospitals, may well be cheap by USA levels, but can cost a lot. 

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R2R you do well to consider this.    First retiring to Thailand is a dream few guys realize. I have never been so happy.  As to the question this a long shot but would your job give you the possibility of working for the Feds or State even part time. After 5 years retire with BCBS which covers 100% in patient cost.  I was in Bumrungrad for a week and over 200,000 baht covered 100%. I think $200 usd/ month premium, doesnt go up with age. Over the years we had staff ,lawyers , watermen , farmers that came on not caring what job they took.  More realistically did you serve in the Military? Manila will cover Tricare and only a 5 hour flight.  The other option is i have friends who have been here for 20 years and self insured. That typically does not work to well anymore because of higher costs. What they have done is discover much cheaper alternatives in public or military hospitals.Still excellent care.

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I’m no expert on this but obviously it’s a topic we all will consider at some point in time.

I somehow come across this video on YouTube no doubt somebody on here will have view on it one way or another but on the face of it it doesn’t seem too bad on the other hand it could be a complete rip off.

 

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22 hours ago, Ready2Retire said:

Hi everyone nice to meet you first time poster here from America. My ultimate future goal is to move to Thailand long term preferably Chiang Mai area for cost and also natural beauty. And yes I have visited that area several times.

My plan is to work as much as I can for a few more years until I hit my late 50's. Slowly but surely my body is failing me and I realistically cannot last long enough to collect social security at 62 years of age. I did the numbers and I should have enough saved and invested to last me until then.

I am starting to do more research on Thailand expats. 

One huge must for me is to have some form of medical insurance in Thailand. Even if it was not mandated by law I have seen too many horror stories of what could happen without it. Since it is not an insignificant expense, my question is would you guys start getting such insurance a few years before actually settling in Thailand? As insurance costs get more expensive the older you get would it not be advantageous to start earlier if possible or is that money lost?

Also, what if for some reason you have to go back to your home country? In my case, Medicare does not kick in until three months after you turn 65. And what about long term care insurance in the event you have to go back home and you need help? My hope is that I can find some LTC facility in Thailand to live the rest of my days out.

Thank you for your ideas.

What you'll want to get is an expat policy which has requirements for how long you have to be out of your home country for the policy to remain in force. So that precludes you from purchasing expat health insurance to far in advance of your move. My policy with IMG Insurance has this to say on eligibility.

This plan is available to individuals and families of all nationalities. U.S. citizens must plan to be residing outside U.S. on or before their effective date and renewal dates, for at least six (6) out of the next 12 months. Additional eligibility restrictions apply to non-U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. Persons from the ages of 14 days to 74 years old may apply for coverage, and coverage ends at age 75. Persons 75 years of age and older are not eligible for coverage. Please see a sample contract for further details.

I did pony up the relatively small extra cost for worldwide coverage, including visits back to the US.

The link below is to one of several topics about health insurance.

 

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22 hours ago, jacko said:

The annual costs of insurance policies go up with age.... so no real advantage of getting in early than the cover, BUT you need to get in before the cut off age for new customers... mostly around 75 yo.

Some policies include cover for trips overseas from Thailand, but beware the USA is often excluded due to the high costs there.

There are some care facilities in Thailand these days.... and one could rent a nurse to come to your own place. (http://www.rentanurse.asia/) Generally, I would say Thailand is not a place to be with poor health.... I do not think much of the available insurance, and the better hospitals, may well be cheap by USA levels, but can cost a lot. 

Thank you, yes I figure that it's not going to be a huge difference in cost if I wait for a few more years. If I get one will definitely exclude USA coverage, and will probably have to scale back some features to lower the cost. 

I'm doing pretty okay healthwise and I think moving to Thailand will actually improve things because I will be a lot more active and watch my diet better. I hope never to need assisted living but seeing how my dad is very old and has no means to finance long term care spooks me. If something should happen in the future and I have to move back hopefully by then Medicare will be in effect. But not having long term care insurance as a backup can be scary. But my ultimate plan is to move to Thailand and never look back. Hiring a private caregiver also seems like a good and more cheaper option.

16 hours ago, rhodie said:

https://eastinyhome.com/ This is one of the places in Pattaya that offer various levels of care at very reasonable prices. Will give you an idea. Quite a few in Hua Hin and Chiang Mai as well.

Thank you for the link. Those prices for the private bedroom are reasonable, at least when you compare it to back home. Definitely an option should it be needed.

16 hours ago, sailingbill said:

R2R you do well to consider this.    First retiring to Thailand is a dream few guys realize. I have never been so happy.  As to the question this a long shot but would your job give you the possibility of working for the Feds or State even part time. After 5 years retire with BCBS which covers 100% in patient cost.  I was in Bumrungrad for a week and over 200,000 baht covered 100%. I think $200 usd/ month premium, doesnt go up with age. Over the years we had staff ,lawyers , watermen , farmers that came on not caring what job they took.  More realistically did you serve in the Military? Manila will cover Tricare and only a 5 hour flight.  The other option is i have friends who have been here for 20 years and self insured. That typically does not work to well anymore because of higher costs. What they have done is discover much cheaper alternatives in public or military hospitals.Still excellent care.

Thank you for the information. A Fed or State job is an interesting possibility if the option is there. I'll have to look into it. I was in the military as well not retired but will also look into that.

12 hours ago, Broughton said:

I’m no expert on this but obviously it’s a topic we all will consider at some point in time.

I somehow come across this video on YouTube no doubt somebody on here will have view on it one way or another but on the face of it it doesn’t seem too bad on the other hand it could be a complete rip off.

 

Thank you for the video it was very informative. He chose Pacific Cross. I got an estimate for Pacific Cross with reasonable coverage and for late 50's the yearly cost was only around $500 a year, but at age 67 it skyrockets to $2800 a year. 

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8 hours ago, Ready2Retire said:

only around $500 a year, but at age 67 it skyrockets to $2800 a year. 

Would you mind to share what was covered to that looks very reasonable. I never got as far as getting a quote.

Be interesting to hear if anybody else has any experience with this company ?

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19 hours ago, forcebwithu said:

What you'll want to get is an expat policy which has requirements for how long you have to be out of your home country for the policy to remain in force. So that precludes you from purchasing expat health insurance to far in advance of your move. My policy with IMG Insurance has this to say on eligibility.

This plan is available to individuals and families of all nationalities. U.S. citizens must plan to be residing outside U.S. on or before their effective date and renewal dates, for at least six (6) out of the next 12 months. Additional eligibility restrictions apply to non-U.S. citizens residing in the U.S. Persons from the ages of 14 days to 74 years old may apply for coverage, and coverage ends at age 75. Persons 75 years of age and older are not eligible for coverage. Please see a sample contract for further details.

I did pony up the relatively small extra cost for worldwide coverage, including visits back to the US.

The link below is to one of several topics about health insurance.

 

Thank you for the information. It looks like that answers my question about getting insurance far ahead of moving over, pretty much a no. 

I am concerned about no coverage for over 75 years of age, is that normal? What happens when you turn 75 in Thailand, are you pretty much on your own? That's scary unless you have a good support network.

10 hours ago, Broughton said:

Would you mind to share what was covered to that looks very reasonable. I never got as far as getting a quote.

Be interesting to hear if anybody else has any experience with this company ?

In doing a search online, I saw many references to Mister Prakan which is an insurance broker so I used their quote function.

The cheapest quote for a 57 year old for Pacific Cross was 14,670 baht. Following are what is covered:

  • Worldwide coverage excluding USA
  • No deductible
  • Maximum coverage 270,000/year per disability
  • Personal accident, 100,000
  • No outpatient
  • Inpatient, multiple benefits including room and board, 2000 baht/day max 45 days. Intensive and coronary care room and board, 4000 baht/day max 15 days, Surgical fee 200,000
  • No dental/vision
  • No maternity
  • Fully indemnified for medical evacuation/repatriation

If you want outpatient benefits 1000 baht/visit, then it increases to 18,377 baht per year.

However, that 270,000 year doesn't seem that much considering the Thai government raised their yearly benefit for those on the social security scheme to 1 million baht. If you increase coverage to 3 million baht, then the yearly premimum for Pacific Cross goes to around 47,083 baht per year or around $1569 USD/year. 

As with anything in life it's a gamble I think in how much coverage you think you may need.

 

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33 minutes ago, Ready2Retire said:

Thank you for the information. It looks like that answers my question about getting insurance far ahead of moving over, pretty much a no. 

I am concerned about no coverage for over 75 years of age, is that normal? What happens when you turn 75 in Thailand, are you pretty much on your own? That's scary unless you have a good support network

Not necessarily. I believe some Europeans (eg Scandinavians and yes Americans) can sometimes have some worldwide cover from their home countries, worth it's weight in gold if it provides comprehensive cover. Maybe these are all courtesy of their former employment. Other that that I would expect that you are correct.... go see an insurance broker when you get here. 

Over 75 years you can have cover, but that cover will usually be with a company you were with prior... they limit new customers to a certain age. But it is an expensive item some forego. Many 'self insure', ie keep a healthy bank balance to cover eventualities. Certain Visa types actually require this too, a healthy maintained bank balance, that actually you are not meant to spend on anything oddly enough. There is also a visa class that requires medical insurance... both of these associated with what is called a retirement extension, how many live here. Another topic.......

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Good for you to do the research. I may have skin in the game since i have an O-A and and my next extension will require Thai insurance even though my Fed health insurance is excellent. Also with the new American administration  "Medicare for all" may void my current coverage. So we are interested in what you find.    Giving a first hand account of experience ,my friend in Bangkok is a visa agent and had a client here in Pattaya. They were going to refuse ER care but my friend said he would pay. The fellow ended up in ICU , very sick and had to transfer 20,000 Baht per day. I was asked to see him and give an opinion on transferring to a Bangkok Hospital which i had a contact and would take his insurance. His insurance turned out was shit as he did not understand it .Despite a strong effort from the Physician  he could not be moved.  So continue diligence on this.  I may take exception to the advice of not getting insurance before you retire here. USA companies have to cover you. But since you are healthy getting a Thai policy now may protect you from the pre existing clause in the future. But a big may.

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