Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - You and your health plan

You and your health plan

You and your health plan


PHNOM PENH - Hundreds of thousands of jobs will probably be lost as a direct result of the global financial crisis.

Many of the most threatened jobs are in the financial and automobile sectors and appear unlikely to affect us here in Asia - in the short term, anyway. However, these latest alarming figures should give us some pause for thought.

 After all, where would we be if we, too ,were to lose our jobs through job cuts or even illness? What would happen if we were to require medical treatment after losing our job?

Those of us with corporate medical insurance arranged through our respective employers might be tempted to skip the remainder of this column in the knowledge that we are covered and have absolutely nothing to worry about.

We could not be more wrong!

If we were to look closely at the fine print on our medical insurance, we might find that our policy does not allow us what is known as continuous term transfer on leaving the company.

This means that if we become ill, cannot work and leave our job, we run the risk of losing our medical coverage altogether. What's more, if we leave our job and have pre-existing conditions, we run the risk of losing our coverage or insurability. In short, once we lose our job - we lose our health coverage.

In the first instance it is worth asking our employers whether our corporate medical insurance provider:

1.  has an individual plan and guarantees continuous term transfer, or

2.   has an arrangement with a third party for continuous term transfer.

If the answer is no, then we should consider taking out our own health insurance policy to cover us in the event that we cannot work.

To begin with, there are a number of different types of health insurance plans that may be regional- or country-specific. However, for expatriates the most common plan would be fee-for-service coverage.

There are many companies that offer medical insurance plans, and there are a variety of different levels of coverage. The most basic plans just cover hospital admission and emergency evacuation, while the most comprehensive plans cover everything from dental to optical and maternity.


With this traditional fee-for-service type of health insurance we - as the insured - are responsible for paying a deductible before the insurance pays benefits. Deductibles are usually around US$50 but can be reduced to nil (by increasing the premium) or increased to thousands of dollars (and thus reducing the premium by up to 50%). Once this deductible is paid, then the insurance company pays the rest of the medical bill.
This kind of policy allows us to go to any doctor or hospital we choose, pay them directly for the service and then obtain reimbursement from our insurance company. We can also often sign a form instructing the insurance company to pay the doctor or hospital directly if we have arranged this with the insurance company. Some companies also offer direct billing services where you present your card, pay your deductible and the insurer then takes care of the rest.

So, once we have decided what kind of health insurance suits us best, we then need to make further basic enquiries - as follows:

 ·   Check existing health or medical insurance policies very carefully to see what they cover.

·  Check to see what geographical regions are covered or excluded. For example some policies do not cover medical attention in the United States or may limit the amount of days and the cover to accident and emergency only.

· Check what happens in the event of an emergency. Check who we can call in the event of an emergency. Check if there is a help line and if they speak our language.

· Check what are the claim procedures, ie what excess must we pay. And check how long it takes for claims to be settled.

 I would suggest that it is vital to consult a finance professional and get a clear understanding of the benefits and drawbacks to health plans before making a final decision. I also recommend that my clients pay as much as they can afford for a good medical plan because peace of mind is a major factor in a speedy recovery.

 After all it, is our health we are talking about, and we cannot afford to lose it. So let's take action now to avoid being caught out later.

Remember - Your Money Matters!

Trevor Keidan is managing director of Infinity Financial Solutions, a firm providing impartial,  tailor-made  personal financial advice to clients in Cambodia and Southeast Asia. Should you wish to contact Trevor, please send an email to [email protected].  


  • Gov’t says tourism recovers slightly despite pandemic

    The Ministry of Tourism and the Phnom Penh municipal administration have recognised 33 tourism businesses in the capital which have consistently implemented safety measures for tourists and adhered to the code of conduct issued by the ministry. Recently, the ministry announced that tourism businesses had to

  • Mull ASEAN border opening, PM urges

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that ASEAN launch a scenario for gradually reopening cross-border travel and trade between countries in the region. He said ASEAN has had more success combating Covid-19 compared to other regions. The prime minister’s request was made at the

  • Ministry reports 11 new Covid-19 cases, reiterates vigilance

    Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng has urged people to continue practising virus prevention techniques after 11 people tested positive for Covid-19 within two days after arriving in the Kingdom. Speaking on Sunday, Bun Heng stressed the importance of washing hands, wearing masks or scarves when

  • Nine on Indonesia flight Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday confirmed nine more imported cases of Covid-19. The nine ‒ eight Cambodians and one Indonesian, aged 22 to 26 ‒ arrived in Cambodia on Thursday via a direct flight from Indonesia and are receiving treatment at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hostipal in Phnom Penh.

  • Kingdom’s financial sector healthy

    Cambodia's financial sector remains on a sustainable growth path despite the Covid-19 pandemic squeezing crucial industries, National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Chanto said. Tourism, garments and footwear have borne the brunt of the Covid-19 impact, he said, whereas the financial and agriculture sectors

  • Vietnam told to remove border tents

    Kandal provincial governor Kong Sophoan has ordered local authorities to prohibit the construction of buildings in areas bordering Cambodia and to report any irregularities immediately. Recently, Vietnamese officials removed another seven tents from the border area with Cambodia. His remarks were made on Wednesday afternoon

  • Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia. A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will

  • Cambodia to remain neutral on ASEAN-China territorial dispute

    Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn told an informal meeting of ASEAN foreign ministers on Wednesday that Cambodia will stay neutral on the South China Sea. He appealed to all stakeholders to continue fostering a conducive environment that contributes to the end

  • Keeping it riel, Cambodia steps up de-dollarisation

    The economic downturn has supplied the National Bank of Cambodia with an opportunity to step up its agenda to return the shine on the riel while coping with Covid-19 challenges Late May, an instruction by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) to financial institutions to

  • ANA finds ancient Sanskrit inscription

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has found a Sanskrit inscription carved on ancient stone. The inscription was discovered on the underside of a stone on Wednesday, in front of the Tonle Snguot temple which workers were cleaning. Archaeologist and Apsara Authority deputy-director Im Sok Rithy