Image d'introduction
Date de publication
Texte d'introduction

In the second episode of Abroad With Care, Andrea welcomes Luke Hickey, General manager of Health & Employee benefits at Pacific Prime, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers. Luke Hickey explains why health bills can quickly add up and how expats can optimize their healthcare budget in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand.

Corps de l'article

Andrea: Firstly, let’s start with a quick overview of the healthcare systems in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. 

Luke: Asia is an expat hub. I would always suggest that the IPMI, or International Private Medical Insurance is a must. This is because it is a very difficult region to navigate. One of the main issues is the expectation that the medical system is the same as what you experience at home. 

Hong Kong and Singapore are very similar. Both countries offer governmental facilities where you can receive lower-cost treatment but it may not be the same experience as what you are used to back home. Also, Hong Kong and Singapore are some of the world’s highest-cost countries in terms of medical treatment. The medical insurance cost does follow that. 

Thailand is a little bit different. You also have governmental facilities but it is not in the same boat in terms of pricing. Some of the best hospitals in the world are there. But, on average, costs are significantly lower compared to Hong Kong and Singapore. Over the past four years, medical tourism has become more popular in Thailand because of the lower cost there. The treatment standard to cost ratio is very interesting. 

Andrea: What are the key differences between healthcare in Asia and other regions such as Europe or the United States?

Luke: One of the main differences is the social system. In the United States and in Europe, there is a national healthcare system that supports not only the local nationals but also expats. Tax is significantly higher in these areas compared to Hong Kong or Singapore. These significant taxes subsidize the healthcare system. The need for IPMI does not exist there.

Now, talking about costs. Because Hong Kong and Singapore have been large expat hubs for many years, there has been a legacy requirement for American or European treatment experience. That has driven the cost of healthcare up.

>Abroad With Care is available on most podcast platforms, such as Apple Podcast, Spotify, Overcast, Stitcher, Podcast Addict. Subscribe today and make sure not to miss out on any of our short episodes! 

Andrea: Going on to more concrete tips for expat. We understand that getting medical insurance is necessary in Asia. But choosing the right one may be quite complex. What tips could you share to make sure that expats can select the right insurance for themselves and their family? 

Luke: My first suggestion would be to contact an experienced broker such as Pacific Prime in advance. Brokers would take down your requirements and you can get advice up front. You are in touch with your “guy” or your “girl” and they can guide you through the next steps. I recommend to get in touch with a broker that is well established.

Andrea: What are some of the most common mistakes? 

Luke: The main one would be assuming that it is going to be the same cost as back home. I am from Australia. There is no budget comparison between Australia and these expat hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

The second mistake is taking too long to research options. As these countries are difficult markets to navigate, you should research these options upfront to be able to hit the ground running. Certain benefits such as maternity benefits do have waiting periods, so it is always easier to have these conversations as early as possible. Dealing with an international broker will help you set that up. 

The third point would be the assumption that the local healthcare system and the local insurance providers would be the same as they are at home. It is just different.

Andrea: Adding to what you just mentioned, it is also important to check the cover that might be provided by your company. Research would be one of the key points that an expat should do. 

Luke: Absolutely. You really need to look into it, see what you have and check if there is any gap that needs to be filled. 

Andrea: What concrete advice would you give to save money on healthcare expenses in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Thailand? 

Luke: It all comes down to getting in touch with an expert. Based on your requirements, you can get advice from someone who has had a long experience on the ground. Discussing your needs and your budget upfront will help you save money. 

At APRIL International Care, we are specialist in designing and delivering flexible international health insurance for individuals, families and companies in Asia. For more information, explore our MyHEALTH plans for expats in Asia. 

You can contact our different offices around Asia and request a quote, our experts will be happy to assist you!

Titre articles poussés
Know more about : News & Events