The Wednesday, September 20, meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) featured two health related topics. First up was Mario Lindner whose topic was “International Medical Insurance for Expats” followed by George Wilson for the first of a series on “Assisted Living Possibilities in Pattaya”.
Mario has lived in Thailand for the past 15 years. Previously, he worked in finance, insurance, and investment for many years in Germany. He asked the question, why is having medical insurance important for Expats living in Thailand? He then mentioned a recent example. An acquaintance of his became ill, did not have health insurance, and could not afford treatment. This person purchased a ticket back to Germany to obtain his needed care. However, he died before he could depart. Had he had health insurance to cover him here, he probably would have survived.
Mario in his presentation brought up many points Expats need to consider when looking for and obtaining health insurance cover and why a policy from an international company can be better than obtaining it from a Thai company. With a Thai company it may either not be possible due to age or other reasons as well as, in most cases, exclusion of cover for preexisting conditions. Further, if you can obtain cover, the premiums will continue to rise as you age.
The benefits of international health insurance, includes cover for emergency and routine healthcare abroad, access to private medical facilities, and one can choose the area they wish to be covered thus impacting on the premiums to be paid, e.g., country of residence, worldwide, worldwide excluding countries with expensive medical care such as the USA, specific areas such as Asia and/or Europe.
He also noted the differences between travel insurance and International medical insurance. He recommended against travel insurance as it will most likely require you have an address in your home country and will have a time limit (5 years being the maximum) with no guarantee of renewal. Mario said it is very important to find medical insurance that will be renewable and never expire.
Although there are many types of international cover, Mario suggested that only in-patient care is essential. Further, it is best to choose an insurance company that your hospital will direct bill for medical care, thus omitting the need for up front deposits. He also pointed out that the amount of insurance should be enough to cover any hospital admission, noting that many Thai companies while having a maximum amount will have a much lower amount for each admission.
Mario concluded his presentation with information about an international policy that he has and that he also acts as a European agent for the company. He noted that it has a maximum entry age of 110, does not increase premiums if there are no claims. If there are claims, it limits premium increases to no more than 3% per year. As to preexisting conditions, he said depending on what they are, this company might still provide cover after a specified time. For those that cannot afford to pay an annual premium, this company, WrLife, has semi-annual, quarterly, or monthly payment plans. Further, hospitals such as Bangkok Hospital Pattaya will direct bill this company for in-patient claims.
The Power Point slides along with contact information for Mario can be viewed here: http://www.pcecnews.com/permNL/MedicalInsuranceExpats-20-September-2023-PDF.pdf.
PCEC Member George Wilson then provided a brief presentation on an assisted living facility in the Pattaya area, Mandara Serviced Residence. This he said was his first report on such facilities and he plans to visit and report on others in the near future. He mentioned that Mandara is French owned and has several types of units and level of assistance currently ranging from 35,500 baht per month for a studio with no assistance up to103,000 for a large unit with meals and continual assistance from awakening to bedtime. George provided a description of the facility and the current price for their 6 levels of assistance by type of unit.
After the presentations were concluded, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and called on George Wilson to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting where the audience can ask questions or make comments about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. To learn more about the PCEC, visit their website at https:/pcec.club.