There was a story about an Australian living and working in Thailand who accidentally let his travel medical insurance lapse. One morning, he woke up urinating blood, but when he went to the hospital, they sent him home with urinary infection diagnosis. Few days later he returned to the hospital after losing consciousness, admitted into the intensive care with what would be diagnosed as a rare blood disorder known by the abbreviation TTP – a condition where the blood starts clotting and requires extensive transfusions. Until the 1980s, there was no known treatment and it was fatal in about 90 per cent of the cases.
Around two nights in Samui hospital later, his bill reached the astronomical amount of USD 10 000. The flight to transfer him to a private hospital in Bangkok cost another USD 13 000. The following ten days in intensive care and four days in the ward, the poor traveller was billed for approximately USD 86 950.00 The poor Australian finally turned to his parents to pay the bills, under threats of penalty and confinement by the Thai authorities due to lapse in making payment.
The obvious lesson of this story is to make sure that you renew your travel insurance as the insurance company will not pay claims if you forget or don’t bother to renew the insurance. I understand from article that this expatriate was in Thailand for eight years – if this was the case he should have had an expatriate health insurance policy instead of a short term travel medical policy that is really onyl meant for trips of up to 1 or 2 years at the most. This is an important lesson that any expatriate or traveller should remember. Every month we encounter people who have let their expatriate medical insurance or tarvel medical insurance expire. Some companies will renew your policy without any problems while others will not renew or demand that the client purchase a brand policy.