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Many dream of moving to Thailand, either to retire or to work there. The dreams of white sandy beaches and cheaper than at home costs of living are indeed often the leading factors many expats deem as important when making the move. However, while all of this looks amazing on paper, living in the Land of Smiles long term can come with its low downs and specific challenges, especially when it comes to health and safety. Today, we discuss 5 everyday issues that can complicate your life in Thailand as an expatriate.
For those of you who wanted to apply for a visa, or to extend it, the ever-changing regulations have pretty much become ‘normal’ news for you. While those on work permit visas can count on help from their company, those on, for example, so-called ‘retirement visas’ have to constantly keep an eye for the change in regulations.
For example, in 2019 a compulsory medical insurance certificate with coverage of 40,000 baht for hospital outpatient treatment and 400,000 baht for inpatient treatment was introduced for long-stay non-immigrant O-A visa holders.
Thailand holds an infamous second place in the world’s list (behind Libya) for the number of road accident deaths. Road accidents account for most premature deaths in Thailand, especially among motorbikes (73%). Drunk driving and speeding are among the top reasons for road accidents in Thailand, and corresponding deaths. Because of these stark statistics, many expatriates are seeking accident insurance, as an additional form of financial protection in case of a road accident.
Double tier pricing
From restaurants through museums all the way to healthcare, double tier pricing is a thing in Thailand. While paying a little extra for a meal is not such a big deal, dual pricing at public hospitals can be an issue to some expats who were used to the local pricelist there. The 3 tier-based approach to medical charges in Thai public health facilities assumes that expatriates in a tier-2 category: working and paying taxes only will pay a bit more, however, retirees and tourists in tier-3 will pay the highest price (sometimes as much as double) for the same procedures. In that case, expat health insurance, or retiree health insurance could be useful, as at least it allows access to treatment in private health centers.
Air pollution is mainly an issue in Bangkok, and the hazardous levels due to the insane traffic, are more and more often. While wearing filter masks can help, in the long run, the harmful particles in the smog can lead to many health complications, especially those relating to respiration and skin disorders. Having access to outpatient insurance via your expat health insurance plan can ease these issues and give you treatment on time.
We mentioned the ever-changing rules and regulations, and now it’s time to mention the not-so-efficient and often confusing thing for expatriates, Thai love their paperwork. The problems with trying to get things done can be made even more challenging with one’s inability to speak Thai. Whether it is a matter of immigration, business certificate, or hospital claim reimbursement, these issues can take a long time, and become unnecessarily complicated. Hiring an immigration agency or a health insurance broker in Thailand, such as Pacific Prime Thailand to aid with your hospital claims can dramatically improve the experience.
This article was created with the help of Pacific Prime Thailand – a health insurance brokerage that has been helping expats for over 20 years in securing the best expat health insurance. Contact them for a free plan quote and consultation today!