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Health Service

Thailand - Health Service

Thailand has become one of the major medical tourism destinations worldwide due to its good healthcare system. It also offers medical treatment at very low costs. Most of the doctors, dentists, and opticians in the country speak and understand English. Most of these doctors are specialists and work in different hospitals and private clinics all over the region. This may be inconvenient for many patients, especially those who need long-term treatments, because they have to consult various specialists in different locations.

Expatriate health insurance

The state health insurance does not cover expatriates. Buying private health insurance is ideal for those who do not want to pay for their own medical treatment. Employees of some large companies are offered life insurance. International Thai schools offer basic health insurance though it does not include maternity costs, prenatal visits, and childbirth.


The emergency number in Thailand is 191. Emergency transport is largely underdeveloped but large Thai hospitals have ambulances. It is not common to see ambulances on the streets of Thailand.


Thailand has many non-profit organizations including Red Cross and World Vision that help disadvantaged citizens. Some of these organizations provide emergency ambulance services.


Pharmacies and medications are available throughout the country and some do not even require a prescription. Common drugs, antibiotics, antidepressant medication, and Viagra can easily be obtained. However, some pharmacists use aggressive sales techniques to sell medications and they rarely offer advice. Consider consulting a hospital pharmacy for the right medication for your ailment.

Public healthcare

Thai citizens access public healthcare free of charge. The medical staff in many public hospitals are usually very well trained. However, public healthcare facilities are not as well equipped as private hospitals. Expats visiting public hospitals pay for their own treatment. Public hospitals are poorly equipped and overcrowded.

Thai hospitals

Expats are required to have acceptable insurance or enough money before being admitted into public or private hospitals. They accept foreign health insurance depending on the insurance company and its bill paying history.

Private health insurance in Thailand

This is the preferred option for many expats. Thailand has over 470 quality medical facilities. A range of health insurance packages are offered by both Thai and other international companies. The costs of health insurance in Thailand are relatively lower than those of other countries.

International health insurance in Thailand

Many international health insurance companies do not have branches in Thailand. However, the international health insurance companies with branches in Thailand cover expats at reduced premiums. It is advisable to purchase additional health insurance when traveling to Thailand. International insurance is ideal for people who travel often because it is valid in many countries.

Paying close attention to exclusion lists and preexisting health problems that are not accepted is good practice. Thailand has an average premium price rate that varies according to age group. This price may either be decreased or attract rewards if you do not make a claim.

Understanding the difference between inpatient and outpatient coverage is important because outpatient treatment is less expensive. There are different levels of outpatient coverage. The most preferred is the one that includes additional coverage including major illnesses, accidents, or disabilities.

It is important to provide honest information when applying for health insurance to avoid being denied claims later on. Having a full physical exam before applying for health insurance is recommended.

National health insurance companies

Foreigners can be covered by national health insurance companies when in the country.

Diseases in Thailand

HIV is prevalent in Thailand, especially among commercial sex workers. Other diseases that are prevalent in Thailand include malaria, typhoid, Dengue fever, and leptospirosis.

Hygiene, vaccination, and precautions

Thailand is prone to all sorts of tropical diseases. Many expats find it difficult to adjust to the heat. However, most expats often become accustomed to the weather with time.

Food hygiene

Thai foods are popular throughout the world. Many expats in Thailand prefer to eat local delicacies instead of foreign dishes. However, it is important to go for Hepatitis A vaccination to improve your chances of staying healthy. Many people in Thailand use spices to add taste to food and preserve it. However, the spices may cause stomach upsets for expats who are not used to spicy foods. In addition, avoid eating shellfish.

Water hygiene

Avoid using ice cubes and drinking tap water. Although tap water in Thailand is generally considered clean, leaks in plumbing systems do happen. Drinking tap water may result in stomach upsets and diarrhea. However, many expats become used to drinking tap water with time.

Eating in Thai restaurants

Be sure to eat food in restaurants that use clean glasses and utensils. Poorly cleaned utensils in restaurants may cause food poisoning.

Sun exposure

Always wear sunscreen, a hat and a t-shirt, especially around midday when the sun is overhead and harshest on the skin. This is very important because excess UV rays from the sun can harm the skin and expose your body to other diseases. Be sure to drink adequate amounts of water each day to prevent dehydration.

Mosquito related illnesses

Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are quite prevalent in Thailand. It is advisable to go for a malaria vaccine before traveling to Thailand. Additional measures on how to avoid mosquito bites include:

• Apply anti-mosquito sprays and lotions.
• Always cover your body with clothes including socks.
• Wear white clothes and nightwear to avoid attracting them with dark colors.
• Avoid applying perfumes and colognes.
• Request mosquito repellent when in a restaurant.
• Always carry your mosquito net with you when travelling.

Counseling services

NCS New Counseling Services
Tel: 02 279 8503
This organisation provides a good selection of different counselors from different nations. It also offers western style counseling to Thai citizens.

Psychological Services International
Tel: 02-2591467
Fax: 02-2620505
This organization offers services from highly qualified and experienced clinicians. There are also talented Thai counselors working under supervision. This counseling service is ideal for companies and organizations that require psychological support services.

The Centre for Creative Growth and Professional Training
Tel: 02-258 7562 (press 0-Office, press 1-Khun Piyachat)
This organisation has an experienced and bilingual Thai clinician who also sees expatriates. She also deals with marriage and family therapy, mental health counseling, and art therapy.

Read more about this country

Expat Health Insurance Partners

Bupa Global

At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.


Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.