HomeFAQ’sCost of Living in ThailandDoes Thailand have Good Healthcare?

Does Thailand have Good Healthcare?

Health insurance in Thailand – In Thailand, expats are required by law to have health insurance if they are working there. Those who are legally working in Thailand qualify for the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS), which is funded by a monthly salary deduction. Social security holders receive free consultations and medication, but the consultations are usually brief, and the medication is limited to generics. Policies typically only cover certain hospitals, and treatment at out-of-network hospitals is usually not covered. Some expats choose private health insurance instead, which provides access to excellent healthcare at a variety of private facilities. For those who choose this option, there are international companies that can provide health insurance for expats in Thailand.

Public Healthcare in Thailand – There are over 1,000 hospitals within Thailand’s public sector that offer a good standard of care. The majority of Thai nationals use these facilities; however, queues can be lengthy – particularly in larger cities – and there are fewer additional amenities compared to private hospitals. Whilst waiting times in more rural hospitals may be shorter, the quality of care is often lower. A common trend across both city and rural hospitals is that consultations are frequently brief and rushed. Due to its convenient nature and affordable pricing, most expats opt for private healthcare.

Private Healthcare in Thailand hospitals in Thailand are of high quality and often employ staff who have been educated at Western universities. Although private treatment is about twice the cost of public treatment, it is still cheaper than what expats from Europe or the United States may be used to.

Despite the reasonable cost of treatment, expats should make sure they have medical insurance in case of emergencies or major procedures. The best private hospitals are located in Bangkok and, in the event of a serious injury or medical condition, travelling to one of these world-class medical institutions is the safest option. The quality of care and affordable treatment prices have led to Thailand becoming a popular destination for medical tourism, especially for operations such as cosmetic surgery, eye surgery and dental care. Some hospitals catering to overseas medical tourists resemble hotels more than hospitals, especially those in the south which promote medical procedures alongside beach holidays.

Pharmacies in Thailand Pharmacies are widely available in Thailand, both in urban and rural areas. While some are independent, there are also chain pharmacies. They can be easily recognized by their white sign with a green cross and lettering. Pharmacies typically operate seven days a week, with limited hours on Sundays. Many people in Thailand do not require a formal prescription for medication, and will instead visit a pharmacist when they are feeling unwell. However, this has led to the overuse of antibiotics. Expats are advised to consult a doctor for any medical ailments, although it’s worth noting that hospitals may charge more for medications than independent stores in town. Additionally, most qualified pharmacists should be able to provide medical advice in English.

Health Hazard in Thailand There are multiple health hazards in Thailand that expats should be aware of due to the tropical climate being a suitable breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Those who are travelling to the northern region of the country should be cautious of Japanese encephalitis, which is a severe disease that can result in brain damage and is transmitted by mosquito bites. In specific areas, dengue fever and malaria are also significant concerns. Therefore, expats are advised to wear protective clothing during the evenings, use mosquito repellents, and consult medical professionals even for mild flu-like symptoms.

Emergency services in Thailand There are private ambulance services in Thailand that cater to English speakers, but it is better to have a Thai speaker make a call when calling a government ambulance. The public emergency numbers for Thailand are 1154 for medical emergencies and 1155 for the tourist police.

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