Among Southeast Asian countries, Thailand has one of the best healthcare systems. The country made a major transformation in the system in the early 2000s. Thanks to this transformation, the Thailand health insurance system is significantly better now.
Currently, around 99% of the Thai population has access to health insurance. Moreover, the country has excellent healthcare facilities. Therefore, it is no wonder that Thailand has become one of the best medical tourism destinations in Asia.
What is the Healthcare System in Thailand
The Thailand health insurance system is called Universal Healthcare. Most people in this country have health insurance via this system. Below are some key points about the Thailand healthcare system.
1. Three Government Programs in Universal Healthcare
The Thailand government provides Universal Healthcare in three programs.
- Social Security: This healthcare insurance is for private employees.
- Civil Service Welfare System: The government gives this healthcare insurance to civil servants and their families.
- Universal Coverage: The government released this healthcare insurance in 2002. This program is available for all Thai populations who don’t qualify for Social Security coverage and Civil Service Welfare System.
2. Components of the Thailand Health Insurance System
The Thailand health insurance system has three components. They are:
· Public Healthcare
The main component of the Thailand health insurance system is public healthcare. It consists of public healthcare facilities, such as public hospitals and pharmacists.
Thailand citizens can find these facilities both in urban and rural areas. However, urban areas have more public facilities than urban areas do.
· Private Healthcare
Private hospitals, medical labs, nursing homes, and pharmacists are some facilities under the category of the private healthcare sector. The quality of private hospitals in Thailand is superior compared to the private hospital quality in certain SEA countries.
Therefore, people from other SEA countries often come to Thailand to get medical treatment from these hospitals. Thailand’s private hospitals offer more affordable medical treatments than medical treatments in Western countries.
However, they are more expensive than the medical treatments from Thailand’s public hospitals.
· Non-Profit Health Organizations
The other component of the Thailand health insurance system is non-profit health organizations. There are several non-profit agencies in this country.
Some of them are World Vision, Médecins Sans Frontières, and Red Cross. They actively help Thai citizens who are in need of medical help.
3. Medical Professionals
Thailand is the home of numerous well-trained medical professionals. Many of them get their degree from top universities in Western countries.
The country has a low ratio of doctors and population. The number of specialist doctors is higher than the number of GPs.
Due to this low number of GP, the average waiting time for GP in Thailand is quite high. GPs in public hospitals must also take care of lots of patients every day. However, the waiting time for GP in Thailand’s private hospitals is lower than that in public hospitals.
4. How does the Thailand Health Insurance System Work?
Universal Healthcare card holders in Thailand get free healthcare services from local public hospitals. However, they can only get it from one hospital only.
Therefore, they must pay if they want to get medical treatment from other public hospitals or private hospitals. Moreover, free healthcare services are only available from Monday to Friday.
Thailand Health Insurance System: The Healthcare Facilities
The Thailand government builds enough public healthcare facilities to support the Thailand health insurance system. Moreover, the country also has numerous private healthcare facilities. How many hospitals are in Thailand? Check the facts below.
1. Primary Care Health Units
Thailand has over 9700 primary care health units. These clinics play an important role in public health within the Thailand health insurance system.
2. Public Hospitals
The country is the home of more than 900 public hospitals, which operation is under The Ministry of Public Health. These hospitals have excellent doctors. However, the waiting time for GP in these hospitals is over 90 minutes.
3. Private Hospitals and Clinics
Thailand has more than 300 private hospitals. They have better infrastructure and highly qualified doctors. Moreover, the patient waiting time is also shorter. However, its medical services are more expensive.
Some hospitals in Thailand are owned by non-profit organizations, such as Red Cross, Universities, and the military. Moreover, there are over 25,600 private clinics in this country.
Pharmacies are easy to find in Thailand, particularly in big cities. They are open until late at night and some are open for 24 hours. Medication in Thailand is available at more affordable prices than that in the US.
Thailand Health Insurance System: Expat Health insurance
The Thailand health insurance system requires foreigners who have a non-immigrant O-A Visa to have health insurance during their stay in the country. They can purchase global health insurance in their home country or purchase it from Thailand’s insurance companies.
However, it is better for expats who plan to stay for at least a year in this country to purchase a health insurance policy from local insurance companies. Some government-approved insurance companies are Aetna, LMG, Dhipaya, Pacific Cross, Thaivivat, Navakij, and AXA Insurance Thailand.
Expats must have adequate information about the Thailand health insurance system and expat insurance in this country so they can enter and live in this country smoothly.
1. Obtaining Health Insurance
Expats who legally work in Thailand qualify for Social Security. Employers will enroll expat workers in this public health insurance as a part of the employer benefits.
Social Security covers adequate medical treatments. However, expats who want more comprehensive coverage can apply for private health insurance. This health insurance is also perfect for expats who don’t qualify for Social Security.
2. Benefits of Having Private Medical Cover
Having Social Security allows expats to get medical treatments at public hospitals. Meanwhile, those who have private medical coverage will have access to private hospitals.
This access will give them some benefits:
- Less waiting times
- Better medical services
- Better medical treatments
3. How Much is Health Insurance in Thailand
Health insurance cost in Thailand depends on many aspects. Expats with Social Security coverage only spend 5% of their monthly payroll per month on this health insurance policy.
However, the government requires expats to have health insurance of a minimal $13,450 inpatient costs and $1,345 outpatient costs. They must also have a health insurance policy with covid-related coverage of a minimal $100,000.
The Thailand health insurance system is better than the healthcare system in several Southeast Asian countries. The Thailand government provides three different healthcare programs for Thai citizens. They are Universal Coverage, Social Security, and Civil Servant Welfare System.
Moreover, the government demands that non-immigrant expats who stay for a long period in the country have health insurance policies. Expats in Thailand can obtain health insurance from government-approved insurance companies or work.