Ricky Batten

What is top-up insurance?

A way to enhance the health insurance offered by your school

Although your school will probably offer you a health insurance plan as part of the remuneration package, it might not be sufficient to meet your needs. But fret not - there is an easy and cost-effective way to enhance these benefits.

Enter top-up insurance. Instead of getting a whole new health insurance plan, which would be a more expensive option and provide you with benefits you don’t necessarily need, top-up insurance enables you to get a customized insurance solution that considers what benefits your existing plan offers (i.e. the plan offered by your school) and fills in the gaps by taking over where your current plan’s benefits end. 

What are the limits of your school-provided health plan?

Before we delve into top-up insurance, let’s first explore the limitations that your school-provided health plan may have. Generally speaking, only top-tier schools provide comprehensive plans with high levels of benefits. 

Most schools provide plans that come with a number of restrictions to make the plan more affordable. At the end of the day, these schools have more limited budgets and have to keep an eye on their bottom line. 

To know the limitations of your school-provided plan, you’ll need to evaluate your healthcare and lifestyle needs, and then compare them with the plan’s terms and conditions. With that said, here are some of the most common limitations of school-provided plans:

1) Restrictions on the providers you can visit/use: Requiring you to use designated hospitals prescribed by the plan ensures you don't visit the most expensive hospitals in Bangkok.

2) Low maximum benefits: While the plan provided by your school may cover many different illnesses, it may only do so up until an annual maximum has been met or feature payout limits for certain kinds of treatment. 

3) Exclusions of certain treatments: These are often determined based on the plan’s historical usage and the demographics of the group in order to be favorable to the insurer’s loss ratio. 

How does top-up insurance work?

So how does top-up insurance work, you may be wondering? Imagine that your school insurance plan only provides an annual maximum limit of THB 1 million and you come down with a life-threatening disease like heart disease, which may require treatments and medicine totaling over THB 1.5 million. In this case, you’ll end up having to pay the remaining THB 500,000 out of pocket.

Unless, of course, you had already purchased top-up insurance beforehand. If you had purchased a top-up insurance plan to provide coverage of THB 500,000 or more, then you wouldn’t have to pay for anything out of pocket. What’s more, the top-up insurance plan can also provide coverage for things that your school health plan doesn’t. These include:

  • Maternity insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • And more.

As I work for Pacific Prime Thailand, a leading health insurance brokerage, I regularly come across expat teachers looking to enhance the benefits offered by their school health plan. If that sounds like you, please do get in touch with me and I can provide personalized advice, a plan comparison, and a no-obligation quote. You can reach out to me at ajarn@pacificprime.co.th or contact my team at Pacific Prime Thailand.


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