Insuring Health for a Better Future

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Dr. Mak Vuthy, claims manager at Forte Insurance (KT Photo: Cecelia Marshall).

By Cecelia Marshall for The Khmer Times

Forte Insurance (Cambodia) Plc recently hosted a medical fair in Phnom Penh to provide information on health issues and medical care, and to introduce the public to its growing line of health insurance products. Khmer Times sat down with Dr. Mak Vuthy, manager of Forte’s claims department, to discuss the insurance market in Cambodia and the importance of health coverage.

KT: When was health insurance first offered in Cambodia, and how has the sector evolved?

Vuthy: Health insurance was first offered in Cambodia in 1999, and Forte Insurance (Cambodia) Plc sold its first individual and corporate products 15 years ago.

Health insurance premium revenue has grown by an average of 18 percent a year to reach approximately $4 million as of July 31.

KT: What health issues and emergencies are most frequently claimed in Cambodia, and how important is an evacuation clause?

Vuthy: The most frequent claims in Cambodia by Khmers and expats for our company are sickness and accident. Because healthcare services in Cambodia are limited, most expats want to ensure they have access to the excellent medical facilities available in other countries. Two of Forte’s health products, Medi+ and Figtree Blue, have this benefit, extending coverage to evacuation to a neighboring country.

We recently had to help one of our clients who was involved in a hit-and-run motoring incident that left him with massive facial injuries, which required facial reconstructive surgery. The policy had only been in effect for one week before the accident, but Forte took care of everything, including emergency air ambulance to Bangkok, and the stay in hospital to receive treatment, as well as a ticket for his fiancée – costs totaling almost $60,000. We are glad to say that he made a full recovery and is now back in Cambodia.

KT: The government is reportedly drafting a mandate that would make health insurance for employee mandatory. What impact do you expect this to have on the health insurance market?

Vuthy: The Ministry of Labor is drafting a mandate for mandatory health insurance for company employees in cooperation with NGOs and the ILO, and we expect it will be implemented soon. We can see the government is trying here to improve the conditions for workers, and although it is not likely to affect all workers, I think it will certainly help those who work in manufacturing industries. This will also have the added benefit of educating people on the benefits of insurance, which should have a positive impact on the insurance industry as a whole.

KT: What if an employer provides health insurance to a foreign employee who has existing coverage from their home country – would they be covered by both policies? 

Vuthy: That is a very good question and we often get asked this. An employer may provide health insurance to a foreign employee who has existing coverage from their home country, and they may opt to add certain tailored benefits to meet certain situations. Some international policies may have restrictions in Cambodia, which could exclude certain activities such as adventure sports or something as simple as riding a motodop taxi. So always check your policy.

If you happen to have two policies then it is important to remember that you can’t claim twice for the same accident. Normally, policies will have a limited amount that you can claim up to. If the amount of the claim is higher that the limit of the first policy then you can claim the remainder from the second policy.

Alternatively, you could decide to split the claim proportionately between the two policies. Naturally it is easier to deal with a single provider, especially in the country in which you are staying. This can normally save you money and a lot of hassle if you ever need to make a claim.

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