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By Stephen Krause
Expatriates relocating to the Kingdom of Thailand are bound to have some concerns about health care facilities and the countries insurance system , considering the fact that the environment, culture and food would be vastly different from their country of birth. After understanding the standard of living, accommodation and other issues, foreigners should make an attempt to know other issues like health care and insurance before taking the final plunge. However if the truth is something different from what you expected, don’t let these small issues affect your decision. Health care in Bangkok Thailand is not only excellent its available in many strategic places around the city.
There is no established primary health care system in Thailand. However there is no shortage of dentists, general practitioners, opticians and specialists here. Most large hospitals in Bangkok and Pattaya have English speaking doctors and staff. There is also a public hospital in every major town of Thailand, though these may not be the preferred places for foreigners as they are overcrowded and generally poorly equipped. There are also several private hospitals that provide easy communication and better health care service. In the large city of Bangkok however you will have no problem finding faclities which may surpass western standards.
General practitioners are available at polyclinics for walk-in service between 8 am and 9 pm. These polyclinics offer complete range of basic health care services including testing in their lab facilities and diagnosing and treatment of minor ailments. The doctor’s fees ranges between 100 to 200 baht and the total treatment cost including tests and medication may not exceed 500 baht. Walk-in service can also be availed at private hospitals. Almost all hospitals are equipped for 24 hour emergency service. We at Bangkokfinder can make recommendations for you based upon what your needs are and of course your budget.
Emergency ambulance services are quite different when compared to western countries. Ambulances are used by all hospitals only to transfer patients and the emergency numbers can be helpful only if you speak Thai. Fortunately there is a tourist police center which helps non-Thai speaking people. In fact ambulances are not called for in the instance of accidents. In most cases the kind locals and passing motorists help take the injured to the hospital which has proven to be effective when considering traffic situations.
Most streets of Thailand have at least one pharmacy selling locally and internationally produced medications. But if you have particular brand requirements, knowing the generic name of the medication or carrying adequate supplies would be a good idea. You would even be surprised to get medications that require prescription in your country. All pharmacies across the country close on the 25th of every month.
The Bangkok change of weather and water can cause minor health problems. However these should not be neglected as the heat of this region can worsen the condition quickly. Till your body gets acclimatized to the region, preferably don’t neglect even minor coughs and colds. With the polyclinics providing lab results in a matter of hours you can easily take the prescribed mediation and be back to work the same day. One must remember the tropical weather in southeast asia and the differnet 'forms' of illnesses that go along with that.
No immunization is compulsory for people traveling to Bangkok Thailand. However being up-to-date on certain vaccinations may be advisable for your own good health. These are Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, and Hepatitis 'A' (Gamma Globulin, or Havarix) Health Insurance
Cost of treatment including hospitalization in Bangkok Thailand is amazingly low by international standards and this is what is prompting the government to promote the country for medical tourism. However expatriates are advised to have health insurance policies and accident insurance policies to be on the safer side. If you live in Bangkok its much easier.
Unlike in the western and European countries where there not-for-profit-insurance companies’ work well for you, health insurance in Thailand is purely profit based. Moreover Thailand does not have many insurance companies and hence the competition in the insurance sector is almost zero. Before opting for your personalized insurance plan, you will need to fill out a form after which the insurance agent will tell you what things can be covered and what are not. What is notable is certain treatments for renal dialysis and STD (sexually transmitted diseases) is not covered under any insurance in Thailand. One striking feature that does surprise one is that the insurance companies do not insist on complete medical checkup before enrolling for their insurance programs. Bangkokfinder can help recommend quality, affordable health insurance as well.
Bangkok has some of the worlds best doctors and facilities so you will not be disappointed at all. Doctors here have been trained and schooled all over the world and have the vast experience you would be looking for.
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