An Expat Guide to Healthcare in Thailand

Expats may come for the sun, the culture or work. Yet things can and will go wrong regardless of why you came to Thailand. People get sick, injured and suffer medical crises, and you cannot afford to be ignorant of your options in the middle of such a scenario. However, if you are prepared for any situation, you’ll be able to go through the whole process smoothly and reduce complications. Here is a simple guide to healthcare in Thailand for expats.

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Understand the Law

If you’re working in Thailand, expats are required by law to have health insurance. Those who are working in Thailand can qualify for social security. This gives you access to free consultations and medication, but you’ll only be allowed to visit a particular hospital if you want the service to be covered. Furthermore, medications are limited to generic versions of the drugs. You can avoid these limits by going for private health insurance.

Research Your Insurance Options

You can opt for local insurance if you want, but it tends to have exclusions, so it may not cover you if you’re engaging in risky sports or you get in a motorcycle accident. Group insurance is another option. It is an affordable option for families, and it is a way to save on insurance if you work with a team or run a business. Offshore insurance is more expensive, but it gives you higher coverage limits and is an access pass to the best hospitals.

You could save money on health insurance by getting in-patient insurance as a cheap form of minimal coverage. You could choose to get out-patient insurance at a later date, but this often isn’t needed since these services are so cheap in Thailand. That also explains the number of medical tourists to Thailand’s private healthcare facilities.

Understand the Health Hazards You Face

Expats need to be aware of the environment they’re entering. Thailand is a safe country, but the climate brings its own hazards. Those traveling in the northern part of Thailand are at risk for Japanese encephalitis. In many parts of the country, mosquito-borne illnesses are a serious concern. Cover-up, especially in the evenings, use mosquito repellant and seek medical attention for any flu-like symptoms.

Know Where You Can Go When Injured or Sick

You don’t want to be calling local hospitals in the middle of a medical crisis to find out if they accept your health insurance. Nor do you want to be wondering where you should go if sick or injured.

When you’re in an area, take the time to know where the closest good hospitals are located. If you’re staying somewhere, learn where the best medical facilities are located. There are tons of great hospitals in Thailand, so you don’t have to go to Bangkok to get decent medical care. If you live in Chonburi, for instance, you should be able to find a good hospital in Chonburi Thailand. As an expat, you’ll probably want to create a list of preferred private hospitals since they have shorter waits and better equipment. A side benefit of knowing where you want to go in an emergency is that you will have already identified facilities that accept your insurance and speak English.

Conclusion

Expats can make a good home in Thailand, and that includes when they’re injured or ill. Thailand has good quality healthcare, but there are a number of details you need to work out before you land in the hospital if you want to avoid serious problems.

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