- Thailand Health Insurance Information
The last published data suggested that there were 0.3 doctors
and 1.9 hospital beds for every 1000 people in
in 1995. Measured in terms of
purchasing power parity (PPP), each Thai resident was estimated in 2002 to have
spent US$321 on health care every year.
Cumulatively, the spending amounted to 4.4% of the country's GDP (gross
domestic product). This amount is
divided into public sector expenditure (57.1%) and private sector expenditure
Most of the population has unrestricted access to potable
water and sanitation. One of the top
diseases in Thailand is human immunodeficiency
virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
In November 2004, according to the United Nations program on HIV/AIDS
(UNAIDS), a comprehensive program was embarked by the Thai government to contain
the virus. Consequently, it has
successfully brought down national adult HIV prevalent rate to about 1.5% for
the 15-49 age bracket population (or approximately 1.8% of total population).
The death toll attributed to AIDS was estimated to be 58,000
(children and adult inclusive) since the first reported case in 1984.
There are government initiatives and also private groups (partially
funded by government) to provide support to HIV/AIDS patients.
The government programs usually encourage responsible
behavior among its citizens however the practice of stigmatization of infected
patients continues on the national level.
The country is also investing in antiretroviral drug program and as
reported in September 2006, there were over 80,000 recipients of this drug.
On the other front, bird flue has also put a shadow on the country at its
height (though it was pretty short lived), and traces of highly pathogenic H5N1
avian influenza has been discovered on birds in the country and the region.
A special fund was put aside by the government for preventive
measures, which effectively deal with new poultry farming techniques.
The other top infectious diseases in
Thailand are hepatitis, diarrhea, malaria,
dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, rabies, and leptospirosis.
The country overhauled the healthcare system
and brought on a universal coverage system in 2001, making it among the first
lower-middle income countries to implement such system. This universal care (UC)
replaced the old means-tested system previously designed to help lower income
The first incarnation was referred to as the 30 baht
project, which described the symbolic co-payment necessary for treatment
services. Members of this insurance scheme would be handed a gold card which
guarantees unlimited access in their health district, and, it is just as
applicable for referral services like specialist treatment out of the local
The operating finances come from government, with
Contracting Units for Primary Care taking charge of this fund. WHO, or World
Health Organization, in its 2004 healthcare report stated that Thai government's
investment on healthcare amounted to 65% of the country's total health care
expenditure with 35% coming from private sector.
Of course, there were critics who found faults with the UC
implementation; it was generally well accepted by poorer Thais, especially those
in rural areas. The system withstood the change of government brought about by
the 2006 military coup. Mongkol Na Songkhla, the Public Health Minister at that
time, popularly scrapped the 30 baht co-payment and an entire free UC scheme
descended on Thailand.
just welcomed in the new coalition government in January 2008 and it is still
uncertain if the free UC would stay.
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