Residents of Thailand are covered under a public government-funded healthcare system. The World Bank estimates 99.5% of the population have health protection coverage. The public plan is administered by the Department of Medical Services at the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH).
If you are employed by a company in Thailand, you should be covered under the public plan. It is up to you to decide if you need to purchase additional coverage.
Once you start work, your employer will register you for Social Security contributions. A medical card will also be sent to you once you have made 3 months' worth of contributions. This enables you to have free medical treatment in Thailand.
Despite the public coverage, about 10% of the population still purchase additional private medical coverage. There are excellent private hospitals in Thailand, but they can be expensive. Many expat packages will include private insurance so inquire with the hiring company before signing your contract. They are a common benefit of expat packages, so don't be afraid to bargain if healthcare is not initially included in your contract. In addition many local Thai contracts also offer private healthcare as a benefit.
Many hospitals require guarantee of payment or may expect you to pay upfront before they will start treatment for standard consultations, minor treatments, medication, or to make a down payment on major treatment and surgery.
There are many insurance companies that offer travel and expat insurance, so spend some time comparing plans to determine which plan is best for you. Be sure to consider the length of time you will be abroad, the flexibility the plan provides as well as your budget and current health care needs.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Bangkok is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Thailand. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Thailand: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in Thailand, visit our partner APRIL International