Learn About the Hospitals for Travelers and Expats in Thailand
International citizens and expats who are considering making Thailand their home must be careful when it comes to medical access. Thailand takes center stage for its high-quality and highly-affordable hospitals and medical facilities. It is a popular destination for medical tourism. There are more than a thousand hospitals in Thailand, and the government runs most of them.
Take a Thai Translator Along For Ease of Communication
Most doctors in Thailand can speak English well. But in rural areas, travelers would face language barriers with medical staff. If you don’t know Thai, bring a translator to help you with the admission process at a public hospital. On the other hand, you’re most likely to not need a translator at private hospitals.
Find the Right Doctor in Thailand
While Thailand is famous for medical tourism, there is a shortage of skilled general physicians. Expats might feel distressed while searching for a general doctor. Getting an appointment with a general physician can be difficult, but contacting a specialist is not. If you are thinking of moving to the country, you must find a general physician as soon as you arrive. But before heading to Thailand, ensure you have taken proper vaccinations. Here’s a list from CDC’s travel notice.
Public and Private Hospitals
Hospitals in Thailand are of two types – public and private. The government runs public hospitals. Some clinics and premium services falling under the purview of certain government organizations offer additional perks and shorter waiting times. Some private hospitals in Thailand look more like a high-end hotel than a hospital. These are not only famous for medical tourism. Some medical procedures come in the form of a package with beach holidays as add-ons.
The quality of healthcare is consistent throughout public and private hospitals. The main factor that differentiates private hospitals from the public is the ease of access to services and holistic comfort. Foreigners can easily book an appointment at a private hospital or clinic. However, at a public hospital, a first-time visitor must make an in-person appointment.
The condition of public hospitals is worse than private ones. The former has outdated equipment and facilities, with more beds in a room. Also, public medical facilities in rural areas may not have adequately trained staff and specialists. You may have a tough time getting treatment for traumatic injuries or severe illnesses. It causes expats, foreigners, and residents of the country to choose certain locations of permanent residences that make accessing hospitals in Bangkok easier. Those who want to avoid long waiting queues and access better medical facilities must opt for private medical services within the government-run system.
Free Medical Care in Thailand
Medical care in a Thailand hospital will be free for those who have an insurance cover under the Social Security System of Thailand. Those who are not covered under the system will have to pay a certain fee for medical care that is much lower than the amount charged in the Western part of the world or other countries of Asia. To access public hospitals in Thailand, you do not have to be a resident of the country.
Cost of Medical Care in Thailand
Expats in Thailand can access medical care for a much more affordable price than they could back in their home country. Hospital visits and medical procedures in public hospitals in Thailand cost a third of the amount charged in any Western or European country. However, private hospitals in Thailand are no less expensive than those in the West. The cost of medical care can vary depending upon the medical procedures and specialized treatment needed, and be more costly than that in Western countries. For regular and non-emergency services, the costs are pretty straightforward.
Find a Suitable Hospital
Before moving to Thailand, you need to find the right healthcare provider for your medical needs. Most private hospitals let first-time patients schedule appointments through their websites directly. Medical care-seekers search for a specific specialist and decide to choose one based on their education, years of experience, and reviews. However, it is also essential for travelers and expats to not rely on public or private facilities alone. They must opt for an international health insurance policy that will provide them the benefit of emergency medical evacuation or airlifting back to their native country.
Top Private Hospitals in Thailand
AEK Udon International Hospital
555/5 Phosri Road
Udon Thani 41000
Tel: + 66 42 342 555
Fax: + 66 42 341 033
Bangkok General Hospital
2 Soi Soonvijai 7
New Petchburi Road Bangkok 10310
Tel: + 66 2 3180066
Fax: + 66 2 3181546
Samitivej Srinakarin Hospital
488 Srinakarin Road Suanluang
Tel: + 66 2 731 7000
Fax: + 66 2 731 7044
33 Sukhumvit 3 (Soi Nana Nua)
Tel: + 66 2 667 1000
Fax: + 66 2 667 2525
Contact Expat Financial to discuss your global medical insurance needs or obtain a quote online.