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Samui is an island with a true sense of community. You don’t have to look too far to find fund raising events for charity and organasations like the Dog Rescue, Sisters of Samui and the Women’s Business Network do a wonderful job in taking care of animals and organizations such as the Special Needs School who benefit from generosity of the island residents and local businesses.
Sadly, there are recurring fund raising events that really should be unnecessary. Samui , as beautiful as it is, is renowned for motorbike accidents and far too often when ex-pats are involved in accidents, it comes to light that they have no health insurance. In these sort of situations the island residents rally round and attempt to keep up with medical bills, that for serious accidents, and of course illness, can run into millions of Baht. Not only does this put a great deal of pressure on the friends and relatives of the victim in Samui but friends and family back home too. Some families have found themselves in a position where they have to sell or remortgage their homes to pay for life saving operations and medical treatments for relatives in Thailand. Although the international hospitals in Koh Samui are good they do not come cheap and even minor accidents and illnesses can leave a huge hole in the pockets of friends and relatives.
When the Samui Times did a survey among some of the islands uninsured residents to find out why they had no insurance the most popular reason was that if they were seriously ill or injured they would simply return back home where they can often be treated free of charge in countries with free health services. The second most popular answer was that they simply could not afford health insurance. Although for long term illnesses returning home is perhaps an option, in case of life threatening illnesses and serious accidents flying home for treatment is simply not an option, and in cases where it is, being medivacked back to your own country for most is simply cost prohibitive. Not being able to afford insurance may be a problem for some, however medical insurance in Thailand, where there is no government run free schemes, is something you can’t afford not to have and the good news is that is not as expensive as you might think.
The Samui Times went to meet long term island resident Mario, who has been matching residents with the right health insurance policies for the last six years. Mario, from the UK, offers a wide range of health insurance packages and has sought out some of the best deals the worlds health insurance companies have to offer. One of his most popular and comprehensive policies comes from an American company called L.MG. It is not possible to say what is costs as figures largely depend on age and any previous medical conditions but a rough guide is that it is approximately 1000 baht for each year of your life, so your average thirty five year old can expect to pay around 35,000 baht annually for fully comprehensive health insurance that will insure him for up to 5 million baht. L.M.G policies are available to men and women of any nationality and the company will insure you for life. If you are looking for a cheaper option then it is possible to reduce the cost of an L.M.G policy with discount options such as outpatient exclusion that will reduce costs by 20% and adding an excess to your policy that can save you up to a further 40%. The policy covers all medical costs, ambulance services and emergency medical evacuation. With this comprehensive policy you also have the option of adding a travel package that insures you against baggage loss, baggage delay, loss of personal money, medical expenses, strikes, hijacks and will provide personal liability insurance. The LMG policy is a great way to protect yourself from unaffordable medical bills and for expectant mothers it also has the benefit of protecting your baby for the duration of the policy, providing you have been with the company for nine months before the birth child.
For those on a serious budget Mario has a range of other very affordable health insurance policies for as little as 12,000 baht a year. They may not cover you for the same amount as the more expensive options, but they will certainly protect you in the event of a medical emergency and offer you and anybody you would have to rely on if you did not have insurance some peace of mind. Everybody can get health insurance, Mario has polices to suit everybody so no matter how many pre existing conditions you have or what your age is it is, or what your budget is for that matter it is well worth looking into.
As well as medical insurance Mario has a wide range of car, motorbike, house and business insurance policies. Car insurance is essential in Koh Samui with road traffic accidents being a daily occurrence. Like health insurance policies do not have to cost you an arm and a leg, although it is worth remembering not having insurance might well do! Mario has a deal where you can insure your Toyota Vigo, for example, on a fully comprehensive policy for as little as 13,000 baht a year for up to 16 years. There are different price options available depending on where you choose to get your or a third parties car repaired.
Motorbike insurance is another area where some people try to cut corners, but again, is something that everybody riding a bike should have and it is actually very affordable. Your bike has to have a current tax disc to qualify for insurance and if you are riding in Thailand you will need a Thai motorbike driving license. Third party insurance is worth its weight in gold and the policy will even cover your bail bond if it is deemed that you caused the accident.
Business insurance is another area that is often ignored, however it is worth having. Accidents in the work place can cost you dearly if your employee decides to take you to court. This kind of insurance also has the benefit of public liability insurance.
House insurance policies cover buildings insurance and or contents. Most policies cover flood damage that is particularly useful in the wet season.
Even in times of economic hardship the benefits of adequate insurance speak for themselves. Knowing that you and your loved ones have peace of mind is priceless. If you have an accident or your are sick the last thing you want is your loved ones to have to worry about is finding the money to help you and of course, the last thing they want is to be in a position where you, or they, cannot afford, the sometimes life saving, medical treatment you need. It is also worth noting that plans are being discusses to make having health insurance a requirement to enter the country.
If you would like information on health insurance, or you are thinking of upgrading your existing policy give Mario a call on 0898731080