Whatever your situation and whatever the reason for your stay in Thailand: a new secondment, a new professional opportunity, an internship, a university exchange or simply a holiday, it is important to think about insurance. What do you need to know about the health system in Thailand? We tell you everything!
Before you leave for Thailand, have you thought about taking out health insurance for Thailand? Mondassur allows you to cover all your risks (health, repatriation, luggage…) by choosing a personalised international health insurance adapted to all your needs.
The health system in Thailand
The health system in Thailand is composed of a public and a private sector. Unlike the European health system, to consult a doctor you have to go to the hospital, there are no independent private doctors. This is why access to care in public hospitals is a real constraint in Thailand. They are crowded with patients all the time due to the fact that all Thai citizens go to these hospitals whenever they need health care. Waiting times are extremely long. Not to mention the introduction of universal social coverage that partially reimburses basic health care for Thais. In the private sector, the quality of care is much better, the waiting times are much shorter, the medical equipment is more technologically advanced and the health staff more qualified. However, the cost of medical care is very expensive, and the majority of the local Thai population cannot afford it. Therefore, if you want to expatriate to Thailand, it is essential that you take out international health insurance to cover yourself against Thai medical costs and have access to private health care.
How does the health care system in Thailand work?
Since 2002, the Thai government has passed a universal health coverage law allowing many Thais to be insured. Many insurers offer universal health cover to their employees. There are three schemes in Thailand that cover more than three-quarters of the population:
- The Civil Servants Health Insurance Scheme (CSMBS) provides health coverage for Thai civil servants and their family members (up to 3 children)
- The Social Security Scheme (SSS) is financed by social security contributions from workers, insured persons or employers, plus additional contributions from the government
- Universal coverage (CHU): introduced in 2001 and managed by the National Health Security Office and implemented by the Ministry of Public Health, with a network of more than 950 hospitals and almost 10,000 health centres throughout the country. This universal coverage is mainly aimed at Thai citizens not covered by the social security system for the private sector and the CSMBS for the public sector
What vaccinations should I get before moving to Thailand?
Before your expatriation to Thailand, it is strongly recommended to check with your doctor to update all the vaccines necessary for your expatriation:
- Consider the need to vaccinate against hepatitis A and typhoid fever as an obligation;
- Check that your universal vaccines are up to date: DTPP and hepatitis B;
- Check that your universal vaccines are up to date: DPTD and hepatitis B; and vaccines against diphtheria, tetanus and polio.
- You should also be vaccinated against rabies as a preventive measure.
In addition, we strongly advise against drinking tap water and eating raw food.
How to consult a general practitioner or specialist in Thailand?
To consult a general practitioner in Thailand, you will have to go to the hospital, there are no independent general practitioners. If you want to get a consultation with a general practitioner you may encounter difficulties as there is a shortage of general practitioners in Thailand. If you want to get a consultation in the public sector, waiting times can be quite long as more than 80% of the population is treated in the public sector. It is therefore essential to take out private international health insurance to cover the more expensive private costs. On average, the cost of a doctor’s consultation in a private hospital is about 1500 baht or $45.
To consult a specialist doctor, you will have to go to a hospital as you would for a general practitioner. Unlike Western hospitals, you can usually see a specialist without being referred by a GP first. Consultations with specialists are free.
Alternatively, you can contact your embassy to get a referral to doctors who speak your language in Thailand.
The equivalent of paracetamol in Thailand is panadol and costs $0.19 or 6 baht per 500mg unit.
Paediatric care in Thailand
Many hospitals in Thailand have a well-developed paediatric department and can provide comprehensive paediatric care for your children, from vaccinations to medical treatment of certain paediatric symptoms. To see a paediatrician in Thailand, you can make an appointment at a hospital or clinic with a paediatric department. You can also check the website of your country’s embassy in Thailand, which can recommend expatriate paediatricians.
The emergency service in Thailand
The emergency number is 911, which will direct you to an emergency centre with police, fire and ambulance depending on your situation. The voicemail that takes your call is in English, which is a real asset to make you understand faster.
To contact a public ambulance in Thailand, dial 1669.
To contact a public ambulance in Bangkok, dial 1646.
If you wish to contact a private ambulance (service only available in Bangkok), dial 1724 or 1719. The private ambulance service will attend to you more quickly than a public ambulance. However, private ambulance charges will be higher, so make sure you have money on your phone line as contacting a private ambulance also has a cost.
Every emergency medical service should have an English-speaking provider.
Some examples of popular hospitals in Thailand
One of Thailand’s iconic hospitals is Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. It is one of the best hospitals in Asia and a popular destination for medical tourism. The hospital has state-of-the-art technology and qualified health staff, including a large number of international doctors, trained all over the world. Accredited by the Joint Commission International for the treatment of many diseases in the field of cardiology, stroke, chronic kidney disease and diabetes.
Nakharin Hospital in Krabi is also accredited by the Joint Commission International. The hospital has a luxurious service with different types of rooms (VIP, deluxe, superior etc…). Highly developed state-of-the-art equipment and an emergency department that can accommodate many patients.
Most of the most famous hospitals in Thailand are located in Bangkok, for example Phyathai 2 International Hospital, Bangpakok International Hospital, First Fertility Hospital.
Examples of average prices for medical care in Thailand
- Appendectomy: $4000
- MRI: $300
- Echocardiography: $190
- Dental implant: $1720
Dental care in Thailand
Dental care in Thailand rivals that of Singapore (see fact sheet).
Examples of prices for dental care in Thailand at Bangkok Hospital:
- Standard dental consultation: between $45 and $60
- Surgical tooth extraction: between $90 and $215
To consult a dentist in Thailand, you can make an appointment on their website. To choose a good dentist, you can refer to expatriate testimonials or contact other expatriates in Thailand who can recommend a good dentist.
Maternity in Thailand
If you are an expat and pregnant in Thailand, this is good news. The nature of the country is conducive to birth and growth. Your pregnancy will surely be less stressful due to the simpler living conditions in Thailand and a more suitable climate. We advise you to go to a private hospital or clinic. You will be able to have your pregnancy monitored by an obstetrician or gynaecologist who will visit you every week at the beginning of your pregnancy. The average fee for a consultation with an ultrasound is 3000 baths or $92.
During the delivery, you will be hospitalized for an average of 2 to 4 days. Depending on the hospital you choose and the type of delivery (natural or caesarean) you will pay between 40,000 baths and 140,000 baths, i.e. between $1220 and $4300. In Thailand, as in South Africa (see the sheet), caesarean sections are very common. However, some doctors at Bumrungrad Hospital recommend natural childbirth, which is recommended.
Finally, you will need to register your child with the authorities in your home country within 30 days. If your child is born in Thailand and one of his parents is Thai, he will directly inherit the nationality. However, at the age of 18, if the child has two nationalities, he or she will have to choose because Thailand does not allow dual nationality.
Why take out a private international health insurance in Thailand?
It is highly recommended to take out private international health insurance in Thailand. There is a local social security system but it only covers healthcare in the public sector. In Thailand, the only way to see a general practitioner is to go to the hospital. In the public sector, it will be very difficult to get a simple consultation with a general practitioner as the majority of the Thai population only seek treatment in the public sector. Hospitals are crowded, waiting times are long and the quality of care is average. There is a huge gap between the public and private health sector in terms of quality of care, qualification of health staff, technology of equipment and infrastructure. All Thais who can afford to take out private health insurance use only private health care.
Which International Private Health Insurance for Thailand and for whom?
Our International Private Health Insurance is beneficial to any type of profile. Their international coverage is more advantageous whatever the reason for your stay in Thailand, whether it is for your studies, a professional opportunity or your retirement:
- If you are a student in Thailand, on exchange for only a few months or for the entirety of your studies, it is essential to take out a GoldStudent private health insurance policy, perfectly suited to your situation.
- If you are an entrepreneur, an expatriate or a nomadic worker, you will certainly be travelling in Thailand but also in Asia. This is why, when you travel abroad, you should absolutely be covered.
- If you are a retiree, in order to obtain an OA visa, it is mandatory that you take out a health insurance policy that covers you for Covid hospitalization costs up to $100,000 USD. Our GoldExpat private international health insurance covers your Covid hospitalization costs up to 100%.
It is essential that you take out a GoldExpat private health insurance policy before your departure to Thailand.