Is private health insurance really necessary in Thailand

Published:  12 Sep at 6 PM
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Most expats arriving in Thailand have been used to paying for private heathcare in their home countries, but is the expense of an international healthcare plan really necessary in Thailand?

Due to its recent Westernisation, low cost of living and great weather, Thailand is an ever-popular destination for expats from Australia, the UK and the USA. As a result, heathcare, access to Western foodstuffs, Western-style restaurants and the latest in consumer comforts are easily accessed.

Along with massive shopping malls and Thailand’s famous nightlife, the country’s private hospitals advertising health tourism and medical services for long-stay expats have attracted much media attention. For those who can afford Western-style medical facilites, there’s a good choice in the country’s major expat destinations, although prices have more than doubled over the last few years.

Private rooms with all facilities and doctors who speak at least some English are an advantage to many, even although recent Western technological advances may not be available anywhere but in the Bangkok hospitals. These options may be fine for those with US pensions or considerable savings, but not for those on UK state pensions or with lesser pension pots.

What many new arrivals in Thailand may not realise is that the standards in the country’s larger public hospitals are at least as good and often better than their equivalents in, say, the UK. Moreover, surgeons in the public medical facilities are attached to the private hospitals and have qualifications gained overseas as well as adequate English.

Patient care and drug usage in public hospitals is better than satisfactory, and staying in a ward is the economic option, although private rooms are often available at a fraction of the cost in the private hospitals. Thai companies provide expat heathcare policies at far less cost than the international insurers, and expats attending public hospitals aren't forced to surrender their credit cards before even seeing a doctor as they are in the private sector.
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Glenn wrote 6 years ago:

I'm an agent for a Bangkok hospital. The hospital recently finished a promotional special with heart bypass at $10,300 and heart valve at $12,900. All inclusive. That's 1/15th US rates. UK waiting lists for a hip replacement are legendary. $7500 in Thailand. And these rates come with a suite more usually associated with a 5 Star Hotel. US citizens can get full operations for less than an Obama Care deductible & copay. And that includes the cost of flights and a hotel for a couple of weeks. US.. Uk.. Eu citizens have "been HAD! "Ya been took.. Ya been hoodwinked.. Ya been bamboozled." (Malcolm X quote.) The problem in the US is price fixing and collusion. Between the health insurance companies.. hospitals.. with the oversight and blessings of Uncle Sam. And collusion in a legal felony sense. What a pity US law enforcement brings to the table a "couldn't care less" attitude. Too busy busting kids drinking beer. Thailand offers life saving options to US citizens on "the financial edge." With the trends for quality and price in the US, UK, EU going one way the same trends for Thai medical are going the entire opposite direction. Thank God for Thailand.

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