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Friday, January 4, 2019

Medical Insurance (in Thailand)

Medical Insurance (in Thailand)

I've lived in Thailand more than 5 years now and am British though I've lived in both Germany and the Netherlands so I'm used to having to have medical insurance.
My first attempt at medical insurance, part of a family policy failed - blood pressure too high - it usually is if I even enter a hospital especially for a test! Sometimes I think it down but this doesn't always work!
I was later accepted by BUPA (a reputable British company or so I thought) but after being attacked in a bus and eventually falling heavily on my chest and head on the inner engine cowling on the bus I was taken to a hospital for checks and admitted but of course BUPA refused to pay quoting "forensic tests", as if I was dead? I canceled the BUPA policy not long after and heard from others too of BUPA's refusal for whatever reason to pay out on claims! After canceling the BUPA policy I took out an insurance policy with AIA, also declaring all pre-existing conditions and medical history. Both the BUPA and AIA policies for myself were considerably more expensive than what we had paid for a policy for the whole family in the Netherlands, and then on top of that the costs for insurance for the rest of the family!

I'd developed an  inguinal hernia (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inguinal_hernia) in my right groin in September last year (2018) and after consulting the AIA agent as to whether treatment was covered and which hospitals had a contract with AIA, I went to Lad Phrao General Hospital in Bangkok for a consultation and eventual treatment in October. After examination by the surgeon I was admitted to hospital that same day and after extensive pre-surgery checks I was operated on that same day!
After a 2 bight stop I was to be release on the third day but imagine my horror on finding out that AIA would not pay for the treatment saying I had signed that they would not pay for hernia treatment - I had declared that I had had prior treatment more than 20 years ago for a hiatus hernia (a breach in the abdomen around the navel), a totally unrelated condition to an inguinal hernia. The hospital admin people could have helped here but all they cared about was getting their money whereas being the "experts", they could have persuaded AIA to "cough-up"! The bill was eventually paid with us having to borrow money!
After almost 3 months, a letter from myself and one from the surgeeon statting that a hiatus hernia had nothing to do with an inguinal hernia, AIA paid up yet with not so much as an apology from the company! Disgusting behaviour! In my opinion AIA use incompetent claims adjusters and maybe they are even acting fraudulently!

It would appear that a lot of medical insurance companies, both Thai and foreign play on Thai culture where few dare to complain for fear of conflict so this could perhaps be seen as deliberate fraud. It would appear they treat Thailand (and probably other countries in the region) as a milk cow/gravy train - totally unacceptable in my opinion!

From this in the Bangkok Post - https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1601170/price-controls-may-be-placed-on-soaring-medical-costs it would appear the government may take a look at treatment and bed charges in private hospitals! They should also take a look at medical insurance premiums and also the insurance company behavious too! Also bear in mind that treatment costs in Thailand are still considerably lower than in Europe for example!

A link to this article will be sent to Consumer Protection, relevant Ombudsman etc!

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