Healthcare Information for Expatriates in Thailand
Thailand is known for its affordable tourism industry, tropical climate, and year-round warmth. This also makes it a popular destination for tourists and expats alike. However, the same tropical and warm climate also poses several health risks such as malaria and rabies, but the dangerous roads in Thailand are even more of a risk to both locals and expats alike. Availing top-notch treatment in Thailand can be expensive, so it is important to buy a great health insurance plan and not worry about any overhead charges at all. If you are moving to a Thai destination for the very first time, you can check out important health updates at the CDC Thailand page.
Overview of Healthcare System in Thailand
Thailand has a universal healthcare system that provides coverage to about most of the local population. The system has its share of flaws too. Besides long queues of patients that lead to longer waiting times, the system also restricts the number of hospitals that offer public treatment. Moreover, every citizen can visit only one assigned hospital to get treatment for free or at a low cost. Other public hospitals may cost a bit more.
Many private hospitals in Thailand cater to foreigners and so hire staff with excellent communication skills. These establishments have access to superior medical technology, making them capable to offer the best quality of care, though that also raises their fees considerably.
How Thailand’s Healthcare System Works for Expats
As you would expect, Bangkok is easily the best destination to enjoy top-notch healthcare assistance in Thailand. However, the same cannot be said for the healthcare system and facilities based in rural areas. Private hospitals in Thailand have a lot of staff who have got their education from Western Universities. Private treatment is not inexpensive but it’s still not as much costly as the hospitals based in the United States or Europe. Even then, it’s always ideal for the expats to procure good medical insurance to deal with emergencies or major surgeries.
In addition to that, many pharmacists are able to provide basic medical advice in English across Thailand. Expats must also know that hospital pharmacies cost more than the independent pharmacies based around the city.
Some working expats are required by law to get a monthly salary deduction of 5% to qualify for social security. Once qualified, they can seek free consultation and medication, though the duration of the former may be very short.
Thailand Mandated Coverage for Expats
It has been reported that the Thai government will require foreigners with the one-year Non-immigrant Visa “O-A” (Long Stay) to have Thai insurance policies covering their entire stay in Thailand. You should check with your visa official, bu the minimum coverage options are low. Some expats may opt for a basic Thai plan, but supplement it with a higher quality global health plan from one of our expat health providers.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Thailand
Ensure a safe stay for yourself and your family by purchasing an international health insurance plan before you travel to Thailand or even if you are living there now. Many such private plans have partnerships with global firms, so you can obtain medical assistance even when you are traveling within some other country. Different plans may provide cover for different things, so you must carefully read the terms before buying them. Some of them may only cover basic care, while the more extensive ones may include healthcare assistance from specialist doctors. One of the most globally trusted plans is the Cigna Global international health plan, which is trusted by expats based worldwide. Another very well known and trusted insurance provider that we offer is the Alliance plan, which is very popular with European expats.