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What the self-employed should know about health insurance in Thailand

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What the self-employed should know about health insurance in Thailand


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Self-employment continues to gain popularity as the world becomes more globalized and the workforce becomes more mobile. Working for yourself is exciting. After all, you get to be in charge and you can focus on what you’re truly passionate about. However, self-employment doesn’t come with one thing that many employees in a company have: health insurance. Our friends from Pacific Prime are here to offer some insight into self-employed insurance in Thailand, along with tips to help you find the right coverage.


Thailand’s healthcare system

If you’ve been living in Thailand for a while then you’re probably familiar with the healthcare system here. However, those who are new to the country could benefit from a brief introduction. 


Thailand is known around the world for its quality healthcare. In fact, it gained worldwide recognition by ranking sixth in the list of countries with the best healthcare system in 2019. The healthcare system in Thailand is made up of three components, including: 


  • Government health services - While public health services can be good, government hospitals are often crowded with long waiting times. The facilities in public hospitals are usually not up to the standard of private ones either. Non-Thais still have to pay for services, but at a lower rate than private facilities. 
  • Non-profit health organizations (NGOs) - Thailand is home to many agencies that help disadvantaged people, such as the Red Cross and World Vision. 
  • Private medical sector - As one of Asia’s leading medical tourism destinations, Thailand is famous for its exceptional medical facilities and staff. Private hospitals with English-speaking medical staff are common throughout the country, especially in popular tourist destinations. Most major provinces generally have at least one private hospital. 


Self-employment in Thailand 

Many people wonder if it’s possible to legally be self-employed in Thailand. While Thai citizens are certainly able to work for themselves, the same cannot be said for non-citizens. Unfortunately, a non-citizen cannot just move to Thailand and start working on a tourist visa. Even though a tourist visa allows a person to stay in Thailand for up to six months, it does not allow them to earn income during their stay. 


This understanding leads people to ask whether there’s another type of visa that one can get to legally work for themselves. Sadly, no such visa for Thailand currently exists. If a person wants to get a visa to work in Thailand, they must be sponsored by an existing company. Consequently, if they are forced to leave Thailand then they will also lose their visa. 


The only option for self-employed expats in Thailand is to open their own company in the country, though this is not easy for most foreign nationals. To begin with, all documentation for establishing a company in Thailand must be submitted in Thai. There are also rules regarding the types of businesses that foreign nationals are permitted to own. With that said, if all works out then the person can hire themselves under their own company and become a self-employed expat in Thailand. 


Health insurance options for the self-employed

So what is the difference between employer-provided health insurance and the health insurance that a self-employed person would get? The key difference is that a person who is employed by a business will typically be insured by a group health insurance policy while a self-employed person will need to secure an individual private health insurance policy. 


One of the main differences between these policy types involves pre-existing conditions. Individual health insurance policies usually won’t cover pre-existing conditions present at the time of purchase. Group health insurance policies, on the other hand, often cover pre-existing conditions. This is not a given though, so anyone with group health insurance coverage should refer to their policy documentation for plan details. 


What’s more, group health insurance coverage can be more restricting than with an individual policy. Group health insurance plans typically limit the healthcare providers as well as leave out valued benefits, such as dental, maternity, and vision insurance. These plans also tend to be rather local, meaning they won’t offer coverage outside of the country. Conversely, international health insurance plans for individuals provide global coverage. 


One added benefit of employer-provided insurance worth noting is worker’s compensation insurance, which offers payment to an employee who becomes injured due to work-related reasons. Self-employed people should consider loss of income insurance as an alternative in case they are unable to work for an extended period of time. Other types of insurance that could be beneficial for the self-employed include critical illness insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. 


All in all, self-employed people have more control over the benefits they receive by purchasing an individual health insurance policy.


Speak with an expert 

If you are looking for self-employed insurance or have any questions about your existing policy, feel free to contact Pacific Prime Thailand. 


As a leading insurance broker, Pacific Prime offers health insurance in Thailand and across the globe. Whether you’re looking for expat health insurance, family health insurance, or travel insurance, Pacific Prime can compare medical insurance policies to help you find the ideal plan for your needs and budget. Contact Pacific Prime Thailand for a free quote and plan comparison today. 

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