By: Caitlyn Jasumback & Brolin Mawejje
Thailand has had a universal health care system since 2002. This Universal Health Care (UHC) policy has resulted in a 99% coverage rate (1). This system is based off of the “30-baht health scheme”. This means that each individual will not be required to spend more than 30 baht, or about 84 cents, per visit for either inpatient or outpatient care, including drugs (4). This system continues to be based off of primary care, which means an individual sees a general practitioner and then a specialist will be recommended if needed. Thai citizens with a Universal Coverage Health card get healthcare for free, except for on Saturdays (3). This system has been very effective in providing healthcare to Thai citizens.
The Thailand health care system is also very friendly to foreigners. There are many private and government hospitals all over Thailand. The more touristy areas will have more private hospitals. Any foreigner can get treatment at a private or government hospital, but they do have to pay. It is less expensive at the private hospitals, and the private hospitals are very luxurious. Almost all of the doctors will speak English which is very helpful for anyone traveling from any English speaking country. Thailand is one of the leading medical tourism destinations in Asia (3).
This system does have some shortcomings. Afterall, there isn’t a 100% coverage rate. This discrepancy is due to absence of identification cards, and incorrect housing registration. There has also been an increased incidence of under the table payments. These payments are illegal, but the government is lenient in prosecuting because the funds are much needed (4). This health care system also has a hard time reaching to all the geographical regions of Thailand. This is due to an unequal distribution of health workers and resources. The government is also spending a lot of money on this project, 3% of GDP. Thailand’s health care system has come a long way and there is still more to be done, but the government has a large capacity for health care analysis so there is hope for further alterations (2).