Walter van der Wal

Going home for the holidays

Are you covered for travel and medical issues when you are back on home soil?


In my previous post, I’ve covered the importance of having adequate insurance for potentially dangerous activities. 

Today, I want to talk about coming home for the holidays and address a couple of things you might have not been aware of in terms of health insurance. While you might think you are still covered in your home country, chances are you are not.

Am I covered for when I come back to my home country for a visit?

I know it is somehow always better to talk to a doctor in your own language who will better be able to explain what ails you. The holiday season is a great moment to catch up with your family and friends back at home, but also make a round of doctors visits, and maybe even stack up on some meds that are only available at home. 

Unfortunately, this might not be as smooth of a process as you might have thought. Let me explain below why.  

If you’re from the US, or another country with a similar system, you are already familiar with the fact of having private insurance, even in your home country. The moment you stop paying for insurance there, you are not covered for when you’re back.

And even when you’re from a country with universal healthcare, from the moment you leave your country for longer than six months (for most of the EU countries) and stop paying your taxes there, you are not eligible to receive free or even subsidized healthcare back home.

What should I do in that situation?

Ah, that’s the 100 point question! You are now living full time in Thailand, have a stable job and pay your taxes here. You have insurance at hand, either local, regional South East Asian or international health insurance. Depending on the plan you have at hand, there are also a few scenarios regarding health coverage you can expect back at home.

Travel insurance

Assuming you decided to obtain a local health plan in Thailand, you have coverage for medical costs only on the territory of Thailand. In that case, knowing that you are not protected back at home, you might opt for travel insurance. Some of the short-term policies can cover you at home, but they are still travel insurance policies meaning they would cover you only in case of an emergency.

Regional health insurance

If you’re from South East Asia, you might have chosen to buy a semi-local, or semi-international regional policy. The policy lists precisely the countries where your medical costs are covered, and you can, of course, choose an option which also includes your home country. With this type of health insurance, assuming you have inpatient plus outpatient benefits, you can enjoy cover for doctors visits in your home country.

Local health insurance with extension to your home country

Worry not if you’re not from around here. Some of the local health insurance plans can also be extended to cover you in your home country. It’s quite difficult to research it, and maybe you never even thought of such a possibility. If you’re interested in finding out more, just let me know, because as an insurance broker I can help you tailor your insurance policy - and that’s something you might find difficult when trying to do so on your own.

International insurance

This is definitely the safest option to know if you’re covered at home. International health policies, as the name suggests, cover you globally with the US as an exclusion, unless you purchase US coverage, too. 

While this is the most expensive option of all of the discussed ones, it offers the most significant protection, and is portable - so whenever you move countries - you can take your international private insurance with you and don’t have to worry about any pre-existing condition exclusions that might arise and dramatically increase your premiums over time.

Not sure which option is for you?

If you have any questions about finding health insurance that allows you to undergo treatments back at home, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me or a member of our Pacific Prime Thailand team.

Feel free to visit Pacific Prime’s blog, or our resources page for a wealth of health and insurance advice in the form of articles, guides, reports, and more.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,

Walter




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