How the Medical system works in Thailand

Over the last few years, Thailand has made significant efforts to make access to healthcare easier for the entire Thai population and to improve its medical infrastructures. As a result, the Thai private healthcare system provides high-quality services and the country is ranked as a primary place of choice for medical tourism in Asia.

Thai people contribute to public insurance depending on the type of job they hold (there are 4 different insurances: one for civil servants, one for employees, one for the most disadvantaged people and another one for those who do not meet any of the above criteria, such as self-employed people – in this case, the contribution is called “voluntary”). This insurance, which is “public,” does not cover major medical conditions, including hospitalization, which is why it is strongly recommended to top up this coverage with private insurance. Only expatriated employees with a local contract can benefit from public insurance. Please note that in this case, the insurance will only cover medical care received in public facilities, the quality of which can significantly vary depending on the place. As this insurance provides rather basic coverage, we advise you to take out private healthcare insurance in Thailand.

On the whole, the cost of healthcare in Thailand is affordable and the quality of medical care is improving: indeed a lot of doctors have received their training in Europe and the US, which explains the excellent level of English in a large part of the Thai private medical network.

It is strongly recommended to keep your certificate of insurance with you at all times: Thailand has been receiving an increasing number of visitors coming to get medical care without being able to pay for it. Therefore, it has become frequent that medical facilities ask you to show your international insurance certificate upon admission and/or that they take an imprint of your credit card.


Visiting a doctor in Thailand

There are very few GPs in Thailand. Most of them are specialist doctors; therefore, they are the ones who provide consultations, even for minor health problems. GPs can only be found in large hospitals in Thailand, they are called “family doctors”.

As an expatriate, it is recommended that you go to a hospital for a consultation with a doctor. If you don’t make an appointment, waiting times can go up to 30 minutes in a private hospital. Consultation fees with a doctor can cost up to USD 40.

In Thailand, doctors do not have a specific place where they go to work. They can practice in different hospitals during the same day. It can be a problem because as a result of the traffic in Bangkok, it is common that consultations with some doctors are provided over the phone.

Being admitted to hospital in Thailand

Hospitals are accessible to anyone and provide high-quality medical care. As mentioned earlier, certain hospitals will ask you to show your insurance card with a certain level of coverage before admitting you.

Public hospitals provide good quality services; however we advise you to use private hospitals as certain facilities (mostly in Bangkok) are as good as high-end hospitals in Europe or in the USA.


Buying medication in Thailand

Most drugs are reimbursed.

Source: MSH International