Tenzing pacific services

Cost of Health Insurance
in Vietnam

Tenzing works with more than 40 insurance providers, which means we can offer more than 10,000 different policy options. The price can range from a few hundred dollars a year to more than $10,000. Why such a disparity between bargain and deluxe?

Do you know what an insurance premium is? It’s simply the annual amount you pay for the policy, whether you actually pay annually or on a more frequent basis.

Let’s explore some of the most important factors that determine your premium:

1. Age

The simple fact is that our health declines as we age. A major illness in one’s 40’s is an outlier, but the reality is that everyone eventually succumbs to some medical condition. Since insurance policies cover these medical costs, older people are a higher risk for the insurers and thus require higher premiums. Conversely, younger people represent lower risk and their premiums are lower.

One result of these dynamics is that the cost of a policy will rise faster for older customers. This is true for new and existing customers equally, since premiums are subject to annual increases.

Avg Inpatient Insurance Premiums by age

 

It’s also important to note that some providers restrict the age for accepting new applicants, usually at age 60 or 65. There are still options if you’re 65+, just fewer and more expensive.

2. Coverage Area

All insurance providers define the area where policyholders have their coverage. The cost of healthcare in the region of coverage will have a significant impact on the premium. Most insurers in Southeast Asia offer some version of four main coverage areas:

Residence country only, such as Vietnam only or Thailand only.

Southeast Asia, whether using the list of ASEAN countries or a variation: Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. Many providers who offer Southeast Asia coverage exclude Singapore because the cost of healthcare in Singapore is so much higher.

Worldwide, but excluding the USA (or other countries): The cost of healthcare in the USA is astronomical compared to most countries, so providers often exclude it from an otherwise worldwide coverage area. Other countries may get the same treatment, such as Canada, the Caribbean, Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland.

Worldwide. A truly worldwide plan is relatively rare, but they are available. You’ll pay extra for the additional coverage.

Emergency coverage: most international insurance policies include some coverage in the excluded countries, but only for emergencies and often for a limited amount.

3. Benefits

All international health insurance policies have inpatient coverage as their foundation. The inpatient benefit takes care of the major medical incidents, the ones that require hospitalization.

In addition, there are add-on benefits you can choose for an additional cost, including outpatient, which covers you for everyday treatments at a doctor’s office or clinic. This is a highly utilized benefit, which tends to drive up its cost to roughly double that of an inpatient-only policy.

Maternity, Dental and Vision benefits are typically available too.

4. Benefit Levels

Each benefit is defined by an annual coverage limit, such as $1,000,000 for inpatient costs. Prospective buyers need to compare these benefit levels within the context of the cost of healthcare in the covered region. For example, a $100,000 annual inpatient limit might be reasonable in Southeast Asia, but fall far short for the USA.

5. Pre-Existing Conditions

Unlike some countries in the west, there is no requirement in Southeast Asia that insurers cover medical conditions that arose before the policy went into effect. As a result, finding coverage for many pre-existing medical conditions can be difficult to impossible, depending on the severity.

If a provider does agree to cover a pre-existing condition, there is often an additional cost, called premium loading. Decisions on these matters are made by the insurance underwriter with little to no transparency as to the reasoning.

Read More on Pre-Existing Conditions

6. Deductibles and Copays

Some policies allow an annual deductible (or excess) or co-pay, either of which will affect your premium.

An annual deductible is a fixed amount that you must pay before the insurance will start to cover you for your eligible expenses. For example, you might have an annual $250 deductible. This means that you’re responsible for the first $250 of eligible expenses, then the insurance will cover all other eligible expenses after that. Deductibles can range from $250 all the way up to $5,000 or more, and the higher the deductible, the bigger the premium savings.

An excess is a synonym for a deductible, commonly used in the United Kingdom.

Having a copay means you agree to share a fixed percentage of the eligible costs with the insurer, typically between 10 and 20%. If you took a 20% copay and had a $1,000 medical bill, then you’d have to pay $200 and the insurer would pay $800.

7. Periodic Payments

International health insurance policies are established for 12 months, but it’s often possible to pay premiums on a periodic basis. Paying semi-annually, quarterly or monthly will usually incur a surcharge of 3 to 10% of the total premium.

 8. Exchange Rates

Policies are usually managed under one currency. If you pay your premiums in another currency, your net cost may rise or fall with the exchange rate, especially if you pay more often than annually.

9. Family Discounts

You may be eligible for a family discount if you’re insuring three or more family members under the same policy. Other providers may offer discounted rates for having more than two children, sometimes even offering free coverage on your third and fourth children.

10. Inflation

Premiums are subject to change at your annual renewal. Like any consumer product, the direction of such changes tends to always be up. The cost of your insurance is tied to the rising costs of healthcare and inflation generally, so it’s likely your premium will increase. Click here to see the most recent data.

11. Occupation

If your job exposes you to a higher risk for injury, you may see an occupational hazard loading that increases your premium. This is often seen in the oil and gas industry and in factories, and for engineers or construction workers.

The bottom line

If you’ve read this far, you understand that there are a lot of factors that determine the cost of international health insurance. Cost is just one consideration, though; you may need to ask 

  • Can I get coverage for a pre-existing medical condition?
  • Is my doctor in the insurance provider’s direct billing network?
  • Can I cover my adult children under my policy?

And there’s more. Don’t try to do this on your own – ask for help from someone who has experience with health insurance in Southeast Asia. A Tenzing advisor can help you find the right policy fit from among the roughly 10,000 options we can offer.

Ask a question. Get a quote. Talk, chat, email – your choice

These articles are intended to give you enough information to make informed decisions, but health insurance is complicated. Whether you still have questions on this topic or feel ready to take the first steps toward getting a policy, our advisors can help.

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Johannes Heikkila

Advisor
From Finland
Expat for 1 year
Speak Finnish, English & Spanish

Speciality:
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- Savings Plans

Robert Cunningham

Advisor
From the UK
Expat for 13 years in Thailand & Vietnam
5 years' insurance & financial services

Speciality:
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- Life Insurance
- Savings Plans

Romain Camillo

Senior Advisor
11 Years in Insurance & Financial Services
Expat in thailand for 7 years
Joined Tenzing in 2020
Speaks French & English


Speciality:
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Savings Plans"

Nancy Dao

Advisor
From Vietnam
International Business from UK
Lived in Singapore
Speaks Vietnamese & English

Speciality:
- Personal Health Insurance
- Group Health Insurance

Hunter Deems

Advisor
10 years' experience in insurance and investments
Joined Tenzing in early 2020

Speciality:
- Investments
- Savings Plan
- Health & Life Insurance
Patrik Shore Tenzing Pacific Services

Patrik Shore

Senior Advisor
From Sweden & New Zealand
7 years' insurance experience
Joined Tenzing in 2019
Crim Science
Speaks English and Swedish

Speciality:
- Savings Plans
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance

Geoffrey Mann

Advisor
From the US
Employee benefits & insurance compliance background
Joined the Tenzing team in 2019
Law degree from the US

Speciality:
- Personal Health

Nhu Nguyen

Senior Advisor
From Vietnam
Joined Tenzing in 2017
Fluent in Vietnamese & English

Speciality:
- Group Health & Life Insurance
- Personal Health"
Tenzing's advisor

Ian Comandao

Health Insurance Manager
From Philippines
MBA from Duke University
Expat for 20 years in US, China, Hong Kong & Vietnam Worked at Tenzing since 2018
Fluent in English, Tagalog, Mandarin

Speciality:
- Personal Health Insurance
- Group Health Insurance
- Business Insurance

Craig McAvinue

Director of Wealth Management
From the UK
25 years' expereince in investments & insurance
Expat in Thailand for 5 years
Chartered Accountant by trade
Holistic approach to consulting his clients

Speciality:
- Investments
- Savings Plans
- Health & Life Insurance

Quinn Miller

CEO & Managing Partner
From the US
Joined Tenzing in 2014
Expat for 10 years in Vietnam
Finance & Entrepreneurship Degrees

Speciality:
- Group Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Savings Plans"
  • 84 35857 2629
  • 84 35857 2629
  • quinn.miller@ten-pac.com

Quinn Miller

CEO & Managing Partner
From the US
Joined Tenzing in 2014
Expat for 10 years in Vietnam
Finance & Entrepreneurship Degrees

Speciality:
- Group Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Savings Plans"