Author Topic: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance  (Read 8229 times)

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Offline thaiga

Health Ministry considering In a bid to reduce the financial costs of public hospitals operating within the Kingdom, the Ministry of Public Health is contemplating a measure which would, in effect, force foreign tourists to purchase travel and health insurance prior to entering the country.

According to Pradit Sinthawanarong, the Minister of Public Health, roughly 2.5 million foreign visitors make hospital trips during their time here every year.

With the number of tourists visiting Thailand expected to tip 30 million by 2015, the costs of providing emergency medical care, often to tourists incapable of paying, is placing a heavier burden on local hospitals. The problem is becoming particularly acute in the face of a rapidly aging population who will demand more and more costly government care as they grow old. Last year alone, the Thai government spent THB140 billion on care for the elderly.

Over the long term, the Ministry is considering moves which would force tourists to buy insurance by imposing additional fees on air fare or a hotel tax. Not surprisingly, these moves are being opposed by the Thai travel industry.

As reported by the Bangkok Post, about 40% of medical visits are made by expats living in the Kingdom. Another 20% are medical tourists in town for specific procedures, while 8% are attending for general medical care. The additional 32% are believed to be emergency cases.ring plan to force tourists to buy insurance
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2013, 01:27:44 PM »
Insurance before entering Thailand would mean giving up the Visa on Arrival. They would need to do like the Schengen-Visa: No visa without proof of travel insurance! Lotsa tourists would prefer to skip Thailand in favor of other South East Asian countries. A hotel tax and mandatory health insurance for resident expats were best, but still very difficult to actually impose.
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sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2013, 06:46:01 AM »
It's a reasonable suggestion and some other countries have had this requirement for years. In any case, full travel insurance for tourists is a responsible purchase. Take one benefit alone - emergency repatriation. Who would want to spend time in a government hospital with a serious problem that could get them flown home with appropriate care by their insurer?

Additionally, I think that expats. living here should consider full, permanent cover or be prepared to show Immigration that they could pay for serious operations and after care. Take a walk around Maharat and ask yourself for how long you would be prepared to stay there when insurance would pay for private treatment.

I buy all of my insurance through BSI Brokers (Thailand) in Bangkok and would recommend them. The boss is Andy Crawford.
 

Online Taman Tun

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2013, 08:32:48 AM »
full travel insurance for tourists is a responsible purchase.

Personally, I prefer to live irresponsibly.  Compulsory insurance is not an idea I like.  From the insurer's point of view it is a great idea...trebles and bonuses all round. 
My own feelings are that insurers are all too ready to accept your premiums.  In the event of a claim then out comes the restrictive small print.   
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. Churchill
 

sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2013, 11:08:18 AM »
'Responsible' and 'compulsory' are not the same thing. However, if people aren't responsible, then compulsion rears its head one day.

I note,TT, that you refer to 'feelings' rather than experience. Insurers don't pull out the 'small print'. Your contract terms are in your policy. Read them. Check what you are thinking of buying as you would do if you were buying a smart 'phone. That's another responsible thing to do.

 

Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2013, 05:41:47 AM »
Thailand mulls compulsory travel insurance

The Tourism and Sports Ministry is planning to make it compulsory for all foreign tourists to have travel insurance before entering the Kingdom because unpaid bills are putting a huge strain on cash-strapped public hospitals in major destinations, particularly Phuket.

However, some tourism-business operators warn that this measure might keep away travellers as well as tarnish the country's image.

In a telephone interview with The Nation, Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak said the ministry was readying to implement the regulation to cut down on foreign tourists' unpaid medical bills that cost the country more than Bt200 million annually.

Somsak is discussing the matter with Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong.

Costing "Bt500"

"They agree that foreign tourists should buy an insurance package, which would cost about Bt500," he said.

This would first be applied to tourists who apply for visa at Thai diplomatic missions overseas. The ministry has yet to decide whether this would apply to those who do not need a visa to enter the country.

According to Yuthachai Soonthronrattnavate, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, tourists coming to Thailand on tour packages are already required to buy travel insurance, which allows them to claim Bt1 million for death and up to Bt500,000 for injuries.

Based on the Tourism Ministry's data, up to 6.19 million tourists, or about 28 per cent of the total 22.35 visitors, came to as part of a tour package last year. The Kingdom earned Bt984 billion in revenue from tourist spending in 2012, and expects to earn as much as Bt2.2 trillion from visitors in 2015.

Meanwhile, Phuket - a top travel destination - has had to shoulder about Bt5 million a year in medical costs for foreigners who don't have insurance or are unable to pay for the services, said Dr Bancha Khakhon, chief of the Phuket provincial public health office.

"Whether they can pay or not, it's our obligation to save their lives first," he said, adding that most foreign patients sought treatment for motorcycle-related accidents. Those who have health insurance are able to receive emergency treatment at private institutions, while those who do not need to be referred to public hospitals.

he Nation
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Offline thaiga

Re: 'Medical mediator' to aid foreigners
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2013, 05:41:53 PM »
The Public Health Ministry will set up a "medical mediator" group to handle disputes over bill payments for treatment involving foreigners and hospitals in Thailand, Health Minister Pradit Sintawanarong said.

The mediator group will comprise 18 members, from both public and private medical organisations and  representatives from Foreign Affairs Ministry, Thai Life Assurance Association and Healthcare Accreditation Institute (Public Organisation).

Sub-committees on finance and technical issues will be appointed to consider disputes. Outside experts will be invited to take part if needed, on a case-by-case basis.

Mr Pradit said the mediator group will act as negotiators and review opinions based on international medical practice and appropriate financial responses.

The ministry aims to upgrade the medical dispute settlement mechanism to international standard, as part of the policy to make Thailand a medical hub.

If the two parties involved agree to enter the system, the case must be concluded within 90 days.

Mr Pradit said a similar medical mediator system already operates in other countries. It is intended initially to serve the needs of foreigners who find they must meet medical expenses because they have no health insurance coverage. This group makes up about 80%  of foreigners seeking medical treatment in Thailand.

The ministry has opened three channels for people who want to enter the mediator system through its www.thailandmedicalhub.net; email : medicalhub702@gmail.com; call centre 02-293-7999, which operates around the clock; and direct petition to the Department of Health Service Support.

The ministry’s statistics show that 40% of complaints lodged with the government in 2012 related to the services of healthcare institutions, followed by treatment method (15%), expensive treatment bill (9%), behaviour of medical professionals (9%), and illegal clinics and illegal doctors (8%).

bangkokpost
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2013, 02:34:36 AM »
Compulsory travel cover could damage Thailand’s medical tourism industry

The good news for medical and health tourists to Thailand is the establishment of an official medical mediator; but the bad news is that it looks increasingly likely that all tourists will have to have travel insurance.

The Ministry of Public Health is setting up a medical mediator group to handle disputes over bill payments for treatment involving foreigners and hospitals in Thailand. The mediator group will comprise 18 members, from both public and private medical organisations and representatives from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Thai Life Assurance Association and Healthcare Accreditation Institute. Sub-committees on finance and technical issues will be appointed to consider disputes. Outside experts will be invited to take part if needed, on a case-by-case basis.

The mediator group will act as negotiators and review opinions based on international medical practice and appropriate financial responses. The ministry aims to upgrade the medical dispute settlement mechanism to international standard, as part of the policy to make Thailand a medical hub.

If the two parties involved agree to enter the system, the case must be concluded within 90 days. It is intended initially to serve the needs of foreigners who find they must meet medical expenses because they have no health insurance coverage. This group makes up about 80% of foreigners seeking medical treatment in Thailand. The ministry’s statistics show that 40% of complaints lodged with the government in 2012 related to the services of healthcare institutions, followed by treatment method (15%), expensive treatment bill (9%), behaviour of medical professionals (9%), and illegal clinics and illegal doctors (8%).

The Ministry of Tourism would like to make it compulsory for all foreign tourists to have travel insurance before entering the country because unpaid bills are putting a huge strain on cash-strapped public hospitals in major destinations, particularly Phuket.Tourism business operators warn that this measure may keep away travellers as well as tarnish the country's image.

The ministry is concerned about foreign tourists' unpaid medical bills that cost the country more than 200 million baht annually. Based on the tourism ministry's data, up to 6.19 million tourists, or about 28 per cent of the total 22.35 visitors, came to Thailand as part of a tour package last year. Thailand earned 984 billion baht in revenue from tourist spending in 2012, and expects to earn as much as 2.2 trillion baht from visitors in 2015. Phuket has had to shoulder 5mn baht a year in medical costs for foreigners who don't have insurance or are unable to pay for the services, says the Phuket provincial public health office. Whether they can pay or not, hospitals have an obligation to treat foreign patients. Many are motorcycle-related accidents. Those who have health insurance are able to receive emergency treatment at private hospitals, while those who do not, need to be referred to public hospitals.

The ministry’s plan is that all foreign tourists should buy an insurance package, which would cost about 500 baht ($15). This would first be applied to tourists who apply for visa at Thai diplomatic missions overseas. The ministry has yet to decide whether this would apply to those who do not need a visa to enter the country. Curiously, the proposal is backed by some foreign embassies, including Germany, the logic being: ‘If they can afford to travel, they can afford to buy travel insurance’.

According to the Association of Domestic Travel, tourists going toThailand on tour packages are already required to buy travel insurance, which allows them to claim 1 million baht for death and up to 500,000 baht for injuries.

For travellers from Europe, America or other countries with an established insurance market, buying travel insurance does not seem to be a problem, but even getting travel insurance from poorer Asian countries may be impossible.

For regular Western tourists, travel insurance is easy to get, but even in this sector, a substantial number will have health problems that make it harder to get affordable cover.

Where a serious problem could arise and could backfire on Thailand, is that normal travel insurance does not cover people going overseas for medical care; and the specialist medical travel market is very new, quite expensive, and not available in many countries.

Much depends on whether the ministry plans just to seek proof of cover, or follow the example of other countries where they arrange a travel insurance scheme that has to be bought in advance or at the arrival airport,  and seems to also make money for the countries that do this.

InternationalMedical Travel Journal
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Offline thaiga

Re: Compulsory insurance for all
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2013, 11:24:58 AM »
Mandatory insurance for tourists will be imposed by the Thai government this year, according to Somsak Pureerisak, minister of Tourism and Sports.

Details remain unclear, but one thing is certain: some or all tourists will be required to obtain medical insurance before entering Thailand.

The planned scheme is in response to growing concern that too many foreign visitors end up in hospital but do not pay their bills. Private hospitals here typically refuse treatment to uninsured foreigners unless they pay cash in advance. Public hospitals, however, sometimes have a more ambivalent attitude; unpaid bills in those institutions reportedly cost Thailand more than 200 million baht annually.

The first group of tourists affected by the new scheme will be those applying for visas at Thai embassies or consulates worldwide. They will have to pay an extra 500 baht or thereabouts for what is described as “medical insurance”. Officials did not explain how such a paltry sum would actually cover hospitalized visitors hurt in traffic accidents or suffering heart attacks–the main causes of huge, unexpected medical bills.

“Nobody is going to cover a serious claim for 500 baht, not to mention elderly tourists or those with pre-existing conditions,” it was pointed out by a leading Pattaya insurance broker. “The main result of the move might be to substantially reduce the number of tourists visiting Thailand.” He added that most package visitors already have group cover, although elderly or sick members are often excluded from some of the benefits.

Minister Somsak said no decision has been made in relation to those short-term visitors who do not need a prior visa, those obtaining a two-week visa on arrival, and expats holding one-year visas, especially retirees. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is the large retiree group that is most likely to default on steep medical bills.

One alternative being considered for long-term expats is the reintroduction of a rule mandating that a local doctor must certify the good health of the applicant. This rule was abolished more than 10 years ago because some doctors sold such certificates without providing even a cursory examination. Yet another alternative might be a higher overseas income or a bigger bank balance than the 800,000 baht or equivalent currently required.

Thailand earned 984 billion baht from foreign tourists in 2012 and the figure is expected to rise to 2.2 trillion baht in 2015; in comparison, 200 million baht in unpaid hospital bills seems trifle. Some travel agents and tour operators say that, in view of the differing financial position of millions of visitors, no blanket or imposed solution will be found. They believe that each traveller should be made aware of the potentially disastrous results of being abroad uninsured or without mega-resources waiting to be tapped.

pattayatoday
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sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2013, 12:09:09 PM »
This statement makes no allowance for tourists or expats. who buy their own private travel or medical insurance. Would they also have to comply with the same rules as non-insured foreigners or has that not been thought through? I would expect that the task of examining and approving individual insurance policies in several languages would be too much of a burden.

Travelling or living abroad without either insurance or other means to pay medical bills is foolhardy.

For expats., there is a government scheme that allows the purchase of health care insurance in government hospitals which, I understand, matches that applicable to nationals. It's available from local hospital admin. departments. Does anyone have detailed information about this?

 

Offline thaiga

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2013, 02:05:12 PM »
Benefits of government health insurance Thailand

As a farang (foreign national) working in Thailand you can access this cover if you have a work permit.

The government health insurance normally covers you for 35,000 baht (US$1,160): 23/12/2010

As a farang (foreign national) working in Thailand you can access this cover if you have a work permit. You also have to make sure your employer has set up the social security fund and has registered you. If you enroll yourself it works out at about 750 baht per month. You need to register with your local hospital and can only be treated there except in emergencies.
If you leave your employment, you have 6 months to re-enroll yourself and continue coverage.

Health insurance government Thailand

http://bangkoktimesonline.com/en/articles/expat-insurance
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sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2013, 09:28:59 PM »
I know someone who has what he calls the same cover as Thai nationals and is retired. Does anyone have information about this?
 

Offline ben

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2013, 11:10:38 AM »
my hustband, a foreigner,
made a thai health insurance yesterday in the government hospital in Phimai.
He payed 2800 bath for his medical insurance.
This is a brand new medical insurance for foreigners in Thailand.\
It was 600 bath for the medical check (blood, x-ray, urinetest) and 2200 bath for the one year insurance.
Again, this is new and only for foreigners.
In fact it is so new that they still are waiting for the machine to print the insurance cards.
The medical staff received the training last month to work with this machine.
hoope this helps

 

sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2013, 12:17:40 PM »
Thanks Ben, that's exactly what I heard.

Do you happen to know precisely what it covers?
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2013, 12:49:31 PM »
Thanks Ben, that's exactly what I heard.

Do you happen to know precisely what it covers?
+1 what does it cover  :cheers
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Offline nookiebear

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2013, 04:12:04 PM »
+2.........
Check out my website @ www.nookiesdelights.3baht.net
 

Offline ben

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2013, 11:16:43 AM »
I called the hospital yesterday.
The administration told me over the phone that the farang is insured the same as thai people: for everything.
I asked for a paper, but they don't have it now, perhaps later.
 

sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2013, 12:56:58 PM »
Thanks Ben but for what are Thai people covered exactly? If there is no financial limit to the cover is there a limit on the treatment? Government hospitals are busy and they may discharge people when they still need care.

I really don't know what care standards are offered to Thai people so anything more that you can tell us would be useful.

Thanks.  :)
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2013, 01:27:00 PM »
There is a new hospital been built in phimai.

I visted someone at the old hospital the wards were overcrowded into the entrances

The toilet was to much of a stench to use. Maybe the new one is better.

I should imagine 2,800 buys you the same treatment as thais, private room extra about 600 bht a night ive been told.

I will enquire next time i pass there. :cheers
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Offline thaiga

Re: Expat Blood Donors Can Gain Free Hospital Treatment
« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2013, 03:59:29 PM »
Now that's a good idea

How Phuket Expat Blood Donors Can Gain Free Hospital Treatment

PHUKET: Vachira Phuket Hospital has devised a deal that will help expat residents to cope with their medical care needs - and be really useful if by chance they don't have insurance.

The Phuket City facility, one of three public hospital on the island, is now offering a ''special'' for those who wish to become a blood donor.

Give blood 18 times, the hospital has now declared, and you will get your inpatient care at the hospital at a 50 percent reduction in cost.

Give blood 24 times, and your inpatient care will cost you nothing.

The deal should help to ease the blood shortage in types that are found more often in Caucasians than in Thais.

It should also ease the problem of expats who don't have insurance, and who are still treated regardless by doctors and nurses at the hospital.

The deal was highlighted in a sad way recently when a 53-year-old German expat died of cancer there last month.

He left a Thai wife and children aged 19 and 15. The bill for the final care of the man was 80,000 baht, and the family would have had great difficulty paying it.

Then the wife produced his record of blood donations over the years . . . and the 80,000 bill miraculously disappeared.

Generally speaking, blood donations can be made up to four times a year, so the target of a 50 percent cut in inpatient costs can be reached in as little as six years, while free care can be achieved in just two more years.

Vachira wants to grow its list of donors in any case, because there's always a need for plasma. Donors get the VIP treatment and it's as regular outing that gives plenty in return.

For those who have plenty to spare, the hospital is also offering a different kind of deal: give two million baht to the building program and treatment in the VIP suites at the hospital is free for you and your immediate family for the rest of your lives.

Deals lke these should at least put a smile on the face of a few sick people. Get in touch with Vachira on 076 76 237 237 to find out more.

The Phuket Vegetarian Festival also brings an increased demand for blood and it starts on October 5.

The Phuket Regional Blood Centre is offering an approrpiate white t-shirt as a gift to all those who donate between now and October 13.

The centre at Rattanakosin 200 Pi Road in Phuket City is open every day. Telephone 076251178-2 or 0819588854 for details.

phuketwan
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sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #20 on: October 03, 2013, 08:10:06 AM »
What a great way to spread HIV and Hepatitis - take blood from any old tourist who can't pay his or her bill.
 

Offline thaiga

Public Health Minister Pradit Sintavanarong said Thursday that the government plans to collect entry fees on foreign tourists.

Pradit said he had consulted with other government agencies concerned about the entry fees and a decision would have yet to be made on which agency would be in charge of collecting the fee.

He said foreigners, who stay in the kingdom for more than three days, would be charged Bt500 while those who stay no more than three days would be charged Bt30 a day.

Parts of the fees would be used to compensate medical service costs for foreign tourists, Pradit said.

the nation
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sicho

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Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2013, 06:43:32 PM »
I wonder how the equation would work out. If there is a compulsory scheme as suggested, then would anyone buy travel insurance or offer to pay their hospital bill? Would not everyone take the view that the had paid for free treatment already?
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #23 on: October 17, 2013, 08:39:52 PM »

20 million tourists a year that,s err - loads a money ;)
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sicho

  • Guest
Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #24 on: October 17, 2013, 09:11:09 PM »
Sure is but, if you were a tourist, would you not take advantage of the scheme. Come here for free medical aid for an existing problem?!

THB10,000,000,000.

Let's say that 1m tourists go for some medical treatment. That would be THB10,000 each as an average. Not a lot but the levy in return for treatment would be a great inducement to come here just for that reason.

The idea doesn't stack up. It's not been thought though judging by the limited information we have. The only workable solution is private insurance or travel insurance bought back home and subject to minimum cover and sums insured. However, the next question would be 'What should the cover and sum insured limits be?

If you want to know how complex the sum insured structure is, look at your own policy.

Perhaps another solution would be to sell them the new expat. State cover but that would also encourage people who need treatment to come here.
 

Online Taman Tun

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #25 on: October 17, 2013, 09:19:55 PM »
I wonder how this would work out at Passport Control?  Absolute chaos.
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sicho

  • Guest
Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2013, 07:03:04 AM »
That's another good point. The admin. costs, if they were ever counted, wold be tremendous.
 

Offline thaiga

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2013, 02:30:59 PM »
Bit more from the nation

Since Thailand gets up to 23 million visitors a year, the country could earn as much as Bt10 billion from the extra fee, he said. This money could be sent to the Finance Ministry and a specially assigned committee could allocate it to related agencies including the Public Health Ministry, which spends up to Bt300 million for tourists' healthcare per year. He said if his ministry was given this money, it could allocate up to Bt300,000 per head in life-and-death emergency cases as well as buy more medical tools and supplies.
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sicho

  • Guest
Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2013, 08:17:22 PM »
Scam in the making.
 

Offline ben

Re: Health Ministry ♦ plan to force tourists to buy insurance
« Reply #29 on: October 23, 2013, 11:48:44 AM »
I called the hospital yesterday.
The administration told me over the phone that the farang is insured the same as thai people: for everything.
I asked for a paper, but they don't have it now, perhaps later.


My hustband went this week to the hospital in Phimai.
Got a blood check and medicines for two months,
also new appointment for new blood check in two months also.
He paid nothing.
the 2800 bath medical insurance covered everything.

2) his english friend made the same insurance last week, also 2800 bath.
He visit the hospital together. He also paid nothing for his medicines.
More,  they made an appointment for him in Maharat.
They sent him to there for a special hartcheck that they can not do in Phimai.
also covered by this insurance.
so the medical insurance for foreigners works.
 

 



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