Thailand’s healthcare system has risen to be one of the best in its region and has even been praised by the World Health Organization and UN for their strides in the healthcare industry. Providing coverage to 99.5% of the Thai population through universal healthcare in 2002 shows the evidence of this effort. Travelers even seek Thai medical treatment because of its low-cost and high-quality care.
With the right insurance and preparations, travelers can rest assured they will get properly cared for if a medical emergency arises. Here are a few facts about the Bangkok health system to review before your visit to the land of smiles.
The government of Thailand supervises the medical industry through the Ministry of Public Health with the Medical Registration Division regulating the private sector. All together the government spent 4.3% of their budget on healthcare costs in 2009.
Universal Healthcare for Thais
Funding from the National Health Security Office offers all Thai citizens with basic health services under three sectors: a welfare program for government employees, social security for business personnel, and universal coverage for everyone else. These programs fund public institutions; however only a few private hospitals accept government issued healthcare.
International Insurance for Travelers
For long- or short-term stays abroad, it is smart to purchase travel or international insurance. If you are traveling for business, first check with your employer and insurance company to see if international coverage is included in your expenditures. For personal travel, you can still contact your insurance company to either get a quote or find assistance.
Looking for affordable and reliable coverage on your own can be costly and frustrating, so appointing a travel consulate specializing in medical coverage and insurance will be worth your time, and advice is usually free.
The more affordable option in Thailand, public hospitals will be extra crowded, provide less personal attention, and have limitations on comfort. Conditions are improving, but these facilities rely heavily on government funding, so the over 1,000 public hospitals in Thailand have little wiggle room for growth. Plus, low-income citizens choose the public option making longer wait times and a busy staff.
Even though the public option is suitable, many financially-endowed citizens and foreigners seeking specialized treatment at lower costs choose a private hospital. More money equals personalized care from doctors who have studied abroad. Costs can vary depending on the facility and procedure, so some research helps you decide which hospital to choose. And even though private means luxury, the cost is still relatively lower than in western societies.