The table below provides a snapshot of the cover available from top 6 international medical insurers.
Please bear in mind that the type of cover, level of cover and excess is dependent on the plan and the option.
Clicking on ‘get a quote' will take you directly to the site of the insurer.
Silver, Gold and Platinum with optional modules.
Global Select/Fusion/Hopper, Patriot America (Silver, Gold, Gold Plus, Platinum).
Essential Care, Essential Care Plus, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Elite Plan.
Core, Core M1, Core M1 and M2,Core M1, M2 and M3.
Standard, Comprehensive, Prestige and Prestige Plus.
First Class Plus, First Class Business Class and Visa Economy.
$1,000,000 to $3,000,000 per year.
$5,000,000 to $8,000,00 lifetime per individual.
Bronze: $1,500,000 Silver: $2,500,000 Gold: $4,500,000.
Annual maximum: GBP 1,000,000.
$1,200,000 to $4,800,000.
$1,000 to $7,500,000.
All nationalities, all ages.
U.S. and non U.S. citizens up to age 74.
All nationalities, all ages, as long as you sign up prior to age 70.
No minimum entry age. Max age is 79.
All nationalities, ages 18-70.
Minimum age of 6 weeks to a maximum of 75 years. Children under 7 must be insured by an adult who is also insured under the same policy.
Worldwide or worldwide excluding the U.S.
Worldwide excluding China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Singapore & Taiwan.
Worldwide, but you can exclude U.S. to save money.
Worldwide, or you can exclude the U.S.
Treatment area limit option is not available to residents in Singapore.
Up to 3 months of home country coverage.
12 months. Up to 6 months for U.S. citizens.
Bronze only if post-hospital treatment. Silver and Gold both covered.
Included but not in Standard Plan.
Included (routine health checks, vaccinations, etc.)
Covered on all plans except Bronze. Better plan equates to higher allowance.
Not in Bronze. Included in Silver and Gold.
Can include; depends on plan selected.
Included, but not in Standard Plan.
Semi-private or private rooms, depending on plan.
Included: semi-private and private rooms.
Included in all plans; amount depends on plan.
Hospital cash allowance $750.00 to $1,000; depends on plan chosen.
Paid in full
Included in Silver and Gold plans only.
Accidental included in all plans. Additional services have 3-24 month coverage waiting period.
Full cover, with some excess depending on plan option.
Routine dental treatment (6 month continuous policy waiting period) in Gold only. In-patient emergency restorative dental treatment included. Out-patient emergency dental treatment. depends on plan.
Accident-related dental treatment; Dental treatment that is required in hospital after a serious accident is paid in full; can include dental and vision in add on modules
Included in Prestige Plus only.Comprehensive and Essential will pay for dental treatment due to accidental cause and TCM treatment.
Excluded (except as necessitated by accidental injuries to sound and natural teeth).
Included at 100% for Platinum plan, limits on other plans.
Check-ups and materials covered under most plans.
Can include vision in add on modules
Included in Comprehensive, Prestige and Prestige Plus.
To be reviewed pending results of underwriting; certain special exclusions may be added to your plan.
Included in Silver-Platinum. Platinum provides full cover, otherwise, approx $5,000 per period of coverage up to a $50,000 life-time maximum after 24 months continuous coverage.
May cover depending on circumstances.
There are options to cover pre-existing conditions.
10 month cover wait period. Different coverage for Bronze, Gold and Silver.
Included in Platinum Plan, otherwise, an optional add-on is available.
Included in all plans except Essential Care; Coverage depends on plan.
Maternity may be available depending on plan; a 12 month cover waiting period applies.
Included in Prestige and Prestige Plus only.
100% paid for Platinum, $10,000 Gold, $5,000 Silver.
Covered under Gold, Plus & Platinum on Global Select/Fusion after 12 months continuous cover.
Covered under the Elite plan only, not the essential plan. 24-month continuous cover required.
Not covered under Core plan but is covered under Core Cover & M1, Core Cover M1 and M2; and Core Cover M1, M2 and M3.
Not included in Standard plan.
Paid in full.
Included. Coverage amount depends on plan.
Included all plans.
100% Must be pre-approved by Bupa Global.
Included all plans.
$0 -$10,000 depending on the plan.
$100 to $10,000, 50% waived within PPO network.
Depends on plan.
Depends on plan.
Depends on plan.
Depends on plan
Before age 65. After 65, up to age 74/79/or no restriction depending on plan.
Lifetime renewable as long as you join prior to age 70.
14-day money back guarantee.
15-day free look period with full refund.
30-day money back guarantee.
One month’s prior notice.
100% of the trip cost.
14-day free look with full refund
Available or Cigna will help find a provider.
Your choice of doctors or use of PPO.
Your choice depending on plan.
Your doctor of choice within network.
Your doctor of choice within network.
Available or Pacific Cross will help you find a provider
IEMAS International Medical Assistance Service
Allianz Group and AGF underwrites its Global plans.
American Modern Home Insurance Company.
A (A.M. Best)
A (A.M. Best)
AA (Standard and Poor)
B++ (A.M. Best)
A (A.M. Best)
A+ – BBB Rating System
Good international plan for individuals living abroad. Senior-friendly. Flexible plans help lower costs on non-essential cover items, but deductible can be high on lower plans & country coverage is weaker than top competitors.
High industry rating and renowned for good customer service/paying out. Flexible plans for all ages, singles and families. Available worldwide. Recommended option for expats seeking cover when in their home country too. US Coverage included .
Renowned for Good customer service and reliable payouts. Good option for expats (not over 70), though international health insurance plans do not provide cover in the USA.
Excellent on best plans, average on lower plans. Somewhat expensive with ad-ons and home country coverage. Trusted brand reputation.
Simplistic cover . Two plans available: IPMI International private medical insurance, or travel insurance. IPMI offers better coverage for medical. Doctor’s visits and wellness checkups not included as standard.
Worldwide health insurance cover with lots of exclusions except on the most expensive plans. Largely targeted at those with residency in Thailand who travel<./p>
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So you've compared the policies of the top companies, but before you choose a plan, let's be clear on what international health insurance in Thailand really means.
First up, it isn't travel insurance. If you need that, go here.
This is a comprehensive international medical coverage for expats. It differs from local coverage, which only provides in-country benefits, usually at lower amounts for procedures. As a result, you may end up using less expensive hospitals.
International medical insurance in Thailand offers broad and continuous coverage, as well as flexibility in areas such as returning home for extended periods and covering specific health conditions.
10 ‘Must Consider' Points When Choosing International Health Insurance
1. Company Reputation
When choosing international health insurance, the company's reputation should be your top priority.
Prioritizing company reputation ensures that you are dealing with a reliable and ethical insurance provider, offering comprehensive coverage and reliable support when you need it most.
Remember to research customer reviews, check financial ratings, and seek recommendations from expatriate communities like this one to make an informed decision. When considering a company's reputation, the following is important:
Trusted insurers should be able to provide expert advice and guidance to help you understand the policy terms, coverage options, and any additional benefits you may need.
An insurer's reputation for hassle-free and timely claims processing is crucial. Choosing a company known for its straightforward claims procedures can save you from potential stress and complications during claim submissions.
A company with a proven track record is more likely to address your queries and concerns promptly and efficiently. Look for reviews and feedback from existing customers to gauge the level of customer satisfaction.
A reputable insurance company usually has a vast network of healthcare providers and hospitals worldwide. This means you can access quality medical care without worry, even in foreign countries like Thailand.
2. Customer Service
Selecting an international health insurance provider with exceptional customer service is essential to ensure a smooth and supportive experience throughout your policy tenure. Here are the key aspects to consider:
A reputable insurance company should be easily accessible and responsive to your inquiries and concerns. Look for a provider that offers various communication channels like phone, email, and live chat, and provides prompt responses.
Medical emergencies can happen at any time, irrespective of time zones. Opt for a company that provides round-the-clock customer support and assistance, with multilingual (particularly English-speaking) advisers who can effectively communicate and understand your needs.
Professionalism and Empathy
Dealing with a health issue can be stressful, so it's essential to have supportive and understanding staff. Choose an insurer whose representatives exhibit professionalism, empathy, and a willingness to assist you in a caring manner.
Authorization for Third-Party Communication
In certain situations where you might be incapacitated, having a provision for a friend or family member to contact the insurance company on your behalf can be incredibly valuable. Check whether your chosen insurer allows third-party communication and what procedures are involved.
3. Your Lifestyle/Habits
Your lifestyle and habits play a significant role in determining the cost of your international health insurance premiums. While we all have our vices and enjoy life's pleasures, some habits can have adverse effects on your health and, subsequently, impact your insurance coverage.
Here's why your lifestyle choices matter:
Smoking and Alcohol Consumption
Insurance companies take into account habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption when assessing your risk profile. These behaviors are associated with various health risks, including respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and liver disorders. As a result, smokers and heavy drinkers often face higher insurance premiums compared to non-smokers and moderate drinkers.
Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight contribute to better overall health. Individuals leading a sedentary lifestyle or those with obesity may encounter higher premiums due to the potential health risks associated with these habits.
A balanced and nutritious diet is essential for good health. If your eating habits lean towards unhealthy food choices, leading to conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, insurance companies may consider you at higher risk and adjust your premium accordingly.
Risky Hobbies or Occupations
Engaging in hazardous hobbies or working in risky occupations may also affect your insurance premium. Activities such as extreme sports, skydiving, or occupations involving heavy machinery may be considered higher risk, leading to increased insurance costs.
Efforts to Improve Lifestyle
Insurance companies also value applicants who take proactive steps to improve their lifestyle. If you quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, and adopt a healthier lifestyle, some insurers may offer incentives like premium discounts or other benefits.
4. Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
When selecting international health insurance, pre-existing medical conditions are crucial factors that can significantly impact your coverage and premiums. Here's why you should consider these conditions carefully:
Definition of Pre-Existing Conditions
Insurance companies define pre-existing medical conditions as any health condition that you have been diagnosed with or treated for before obtaining the insurance policy. It could be a chronic illness, past injuries, or hereditary conditions. These conditions are vital for insurers to assess the level of risk associated with insuring you.
Impact on Premiums
Having pre-existing conditions can lead to higher insurance premiums. Insurers may charge more to account for the increased likelihood of claims related to those conditions. However, different insurance providers may have varying approaches to pricing such conditions, so it's essential to compare policies and understand how they handle pre-existing conditions.
Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions
Some insurance plans may exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions altogether, while others may offer limited coverage or impose waiting periods before you can claim for treatment related to those conditions. If you have ongoing health concerns, it's crucial to look for a policy that provides adequate coverage for your specific needs.
When applying for health insurance, always provide complete and accurate information about your medical history, including any pre-existing conditions. Failing to disclose such information may lead to claim denials or even policy cancellations if discovered later.
Insurance companies may conduct medical underwriting to assess the risk associated with your pre-existing conditions. This process involves evaluating your health status, medical history, and potential risks before determining your premiums and coverage options.
Consider policies that offer lifetime renewability, ensuring that you can continue coverage without losing protection due to age or health changes.
5. How Claims Will Be Handled
The efficiency and ease of claims processing are crucial aspects to consider when choosing international health insurance. Having smooth and hassle-free claim procedures can make a significant difference in times of medical emergencies or unexpected health issues.
Here's why it's essential to evaluate how claims will be handled:
Prompt and Responsive Claims Assistance
Opt for an insurance company known for its prompt and responsive claims assistance. A 24/7 claims helpline that can be reached from anywhere in the world is particularly valuable, especially if you travel frequently or reside in remote locations.
Dealing with a medical emergency is stressful enough; you don't want to be burdened with an overwhelming amount of documentation. Choose an insurer that has a straightforward and efficient claims documentation process, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.
Direct Billing with Hospitals
Many reputable insurance providers have a network of partner hospitals where they can offer direct billing services. This means the hospital bills the insurance company directly, sparing you from paying upfront and then claiming reimbursement later. Direct billing is especially useful in emergency situations when immediate treatment is needed.
Transparent Claims Process
Look for an insurer that provides clear information about the claims process, including the steps involved, estimated timeframes for settlement, and any specific requirements for different types of claims.
Assistance with Language Barriers
If you travel to foreign countries where language barriers may be a challenge, having multilingual customer support can be beneficial in ensuring smooth claims processing and communication.
6. Hospital Inclusion: Inpatient/Outpatient Care
There are a number of scenarios that can play out if you have an accident or become ill. You might like to consider what the most likely ones are.
How often have you been in the hospital over the last decade? Are you more likely to have an accident that requires outpatient care than becoming ill that requires inpatient care?
This will help you decide on the level of coverage.
I'll never forget the first week my brother visited me in Thailand; he cut his finger really badly while washing up. He is super healthy and unlikely to get so ill that he needs to be hospitalized, but on this occasion he required some hefty outpatient care.
While we never plan on having an accident, it is always better to err on the side of caution in terms of hospital coverage. You do not want to fall prey to a hefty hospital bill, especially in a country like Thailand that may have different healthcare costs than your home country.
Additional outpatient coverage is usually only a few dollars more, which is money well spent.
Consider the following:
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Care
Analyze your medical history and lifestyle to gauge whether you are more likely to require inpatient care (hospitalization) or outpatient care (medical treatment without hospitalization). If you have a history of accidents or injuries that might need immediate attention, having adequate inpatient coverage is crucial. On the other hand, if you are generally healthy and don't anticipate frequent hospitalizations, focusing on outpatient care coverage might be more suitable for your needs.
Outpatient Care Costs
Outpatient treatments, although not requiring hospitalization, can still incur substantial costs, particularly for specialized consultations, diagnostic tests, and minor medical procedures. Additional outpatient coverage can provide a safety net and prevent unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.
As I mentioned, the additional premium for outpatient coverage is usually minimal, making it a cost-effective investment for the added protection it offers. The relatively small increase in premium can save you significant expenses in the long run.
7. Home Country Coverage – Are Trips Back Home Covered?
When choosing international health insurance, it's essential to consider whether the policy includes coverage for trips back to your home country. Here's why this aspect of coverage is a crucial consideration:
You might need to travel back to your home country for various reasons such as family emergencies, work-related issues, visa expirations, or simply for personal visits. Having coverage for these temporary trips ensures that you remain protected during your stay in your home country or other countries you may visit.
In unfortunate circumstances, such as serious illness or accidents that result in your passing away, repatriation coverage becomes crucial. Repatriation coverage ensures that, if needed, your body can be transported back to your home country at the insurer's expense. This relieves your family of the financial burden associated with repatriation, especially during difficult times.
Depending on your visa status, you may need to return to your home country periodically or unexpectedly. Having insurance coverage that extends to your home country can provide you with peace of mind during such travels.
8. Dental Care and Vision
Dental care and vision are essential aspects of overall health, but they are often not fully covered in basic health insurance policies. Considering these niche areas is important when choosing an international health insurance policy. Here's why:
While routine dental care may be relatively affordable in countries such as Thailand, major dental surgeries or treatments can still result in significant expenses. Some people specifically travel to other countries for cheaper dental care, but it's essential to check if your insurance policy covers dental treatments, including routine check-ups, fillings, root canals, or more extensive procedures like crowns and implants.
Eye care, including visits to optometrists and ophthalmologists, can be costly in Thailand. Whether you require prescription glasses, contact lenses, or more advanced eye treatments, having coverage for vision care can help offset expenses and ensure you maintain good eye health.
Including dental and vision care in your insurance coverage can lead to significant savings, especially if you require frequent visits or treatments in these areas. The cost of dental procedures and vision-related expenses can add up over time, making adequate coverage worthwhile.
Check for Specific Limits and Benefits
When reviewing your policy, pay attention to any specific limits or waiting periods for dental and vision care. Some policies may have caps on the amount they will pay for certain procedures or require a waiting period before you can access these benefits.
Evacuation and repatriation coverage is a crucial aspect to consider when evaluating international health insurance, especially for expats living in politically unstable or disaster-prone regions. Here's why this coverage is essential:
Political Instability and Emergency Evacuation
In politically hostile environments, situations can arise where it becomes unsafe to remain in the country, particularly if you have family members, including children, to consider. Evacuation coverage ensures that you and your family can be safely transported out of the country in times of emergency or civil unrest.
Natural Disasters and Emergency Evacuation
Similarly, in regions prone to severe weather events or natural disasters, evacuation coverage becomes vital. If faced with an imminent threat from a natural calamity, such as a hurricane or earthquake, having a plan for swift evacuation can be life-saving.
In the event of a serious illness or injury that cannot be adequately treated in your current country of residence, medical evacuation coverage ensures that you receive the necessary medical attention by transporting you to a more suitable medical facility in another location.
Repatriation of Remains
In unfortunate circumstances where an expat passes away abroad, repatriation coverage provides the means to transport their body back to their home country for burial or cremation. This coverage saves loved ones from the financial burden and logistical challenges of repatriating the deceased.
Coordination of Assistance
Beyond just covering the costs, evacuation and repatriation coverage also includes coordination services to manage the logistics and arrangements involved in such emergency situations.
Check Policy Inclusions
While some international health insurance policies may offer evacuation and repatriation coverage as standard, others might treat it as an optional add-on or provide it under a travel insurance component. Review your policy to ensure these vital services are included or consider adding them if they are not part of the core coverage.
10. Maternity Plans
Maternity coverage is a significant consideration for expats planning to start or expand their families while living abroad. Maternity-related expenses can be substantial, making it essential to evaluate the need for comprehensive coverage. Here's why maternity plans warrant careful consideration:
Extensive Maternity Requirements
Maternity care involves a range of expenses, including regular doctor visits, midwife services, specialized advice from nutritionists, and coverage for potential lost wages due to not being able to work during pregnancy. The coverage required can vary depending on individual needs and healthcare preferences.
Limited Coverage in Basic Plans
Maternity coverage is typically not included in basic health insurance plans. Therefore, it's essential to explore higher-tier, more expensive plans that offer comprehensive maternity benefits.
Tailored Maternity Coverage
Different insurance companies may offer varying levels of maternity coverage, and some may offer options for tailored bolt-ons to suit your specific needs. Research and compare policies to find the one that provides the best maternity benefits for your circumstances.
Assess the potential expenses you might incur for maternity care in Thailand without insurance versus the cost of paying a higher insurance premium with maternity coverage. Consider the peace of mind and financial security that comprehensive maternity coverage can provide during this significant life event.
If you have plans for starting or expanding your family in the near future, opting for a policy with maternity coverage becomes even more important. It allows you to be well-prepared for the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
While maternity plans may come at a higher cost, they offer valuable support and financial protection during one of life's most crucial phases. Assess your family planning needs, budgetary considerations, and the benefits offered by different insurance providers to choose a policy that best aligns with your requirements. Having comprehensive maternity coverage can provide peace of mind and ensure that you and your family receive the necessary care and support during this special time.
Understanding health insurance and determining the appropriate level of coverage can be overwhelming due to the multitude of factors I've covered above. However, I hope the information provided has shed light on the key aspects of health insurance and enables you to make more informed decisions about your cover.
Remember, while it may seem complex, taking the time to research and compare policies will ultimately lead to finding the best fit for your unique circumstances.
To get started, start with a free 2-minute quote from Cigna by clicking on the banner below: