Walter van der Wal

Please help me,. I have Crohn's Disease!

Will group health insurance cover a pre-existing condition?


"I have Crohn's disease which is considered a pre-existing condition, and I take an injectable medication called Humira. I was planning to go to Thailand, but needed to get information on insurance coverage first. I know this condition will not be covered under a private insurance plan because it is a pre-existing condition. If I have insurance through my employer, whoever that may be, is it a possibility that this condition may be covered? I am thinking that at least some employers in Thailand will have group insurance, which usually covers pre-existing conditions."

Group health insurance plans offered by private health insurance companies in Thailand do not cover pre-existing conditions. In the USA and other places, many companies do offer group medical coverage that does cover treatment for pre-existing conditions; but, they shoulder the additional cost to do so themselves and then take advantage of government incentives available for doing so.

Many employers in Thailand choose to be (or are required to be) covered under the government SSI scheme. Thai government SSI insurance does cover pre-existing conditions within certain limitations. One of the limitations is that they won't cover the cost for imported medications. The medication must be available here in Thailand in low cost generic form.

I have Crohn's disease which is considered a pre-existing condition, and I take an injectable medication called Humira.

(I had never heard of Crohn's disease before and Humira sounded more like the name of a small car to me. I didn't want to admit my ignorance, though, so I turned to 2 old friends for help, the Internet and Google. First, I searched worldwide and then searched in Thailand. I wanted to know how important Humira is to the treatment of Crohn's disease and I wanted to know if Humira is available in Thailand. After I finished my googling, I then checked with the pharmacy at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok)

Humira (adalimumab) is an injected form of medication produced by Abbott Laboratories. But there are also other forms of medication that can also be used for the treatment of Crohn's disease. Humira is more of a "last resort" form of medication for the treatment of the disease. There are a number of potential dangerous side effects that can be caused by taking this medication. But, for those whose doctor has determined fall into this "last resort" category, Humira seems to be the best choice of medication for them

Humira is fairly new and is approved for sale in only 60 countries. Unfortunately for the letter writer, Thailand is not yet one of those countries. Even if it were, though, the injections appear to be costly. The letter writer is seeking assistance to pay for the injections through employer provided group health insurance. This could happen in the USA; but not here.

I suggest that the letter writer check with his doctor to see if another more readily available form of medication would be just as acceptable for his needs. If not, then he should forget about coming to Thailand and seek guidance from Abbott in choosing another country and determining how realistic the availability of group insurance coverage would be for him in that country.




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