Healthcare in Thailand



An expat would move to Thailand for a myriad of reasons – the sights, the sounds, the lifestyle. Only recently, did those reasons include healthcare.

Back in 2005, one hospital in Bangkok provided medical services to 150,000 foreigners. The country now boasts advanced surgeries, medical procedures and other healthcare services available for locals and foreigners at an affordable price.

This new trend of travelling across international borders to obtain healthcare is starting to gain popularity all over the world, and is coined ‘medical tourism'.

Now becoming a Mecca for tourists and expats in search of reasonably priced medical care and surgery, the country's gears shift a little from the tourism along the coastlines to medical tourism in the city hospitals.

Policy Improvements

Back in 1995, Thailand had a ratio of 1.95 beds per 1000 population. In recent years, improvements, mostly initiated by the government, have helped change the dire state of healthcare in the country.

The main catalyst for the improvement of Thailand's health care service is the government's new policies. The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) is one of the main branches of the Thai government responsible for implementing these policies. An annual budget of approximately 1.5 million Baht boosts Thailand's healthcare standard a few notches further.

One of the main policies that sparked health care progress in Thailand is the Universal Health Security Scheme. This comprehensive insurance scheme provides coverage for a large number of Thais, especially those in low-income households.


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Medical Services

Due to the growing popularity of medical tourism that has reached Thailand, medical services provided by hospitals, both publicly and privately owned, have improved greatly. Doctors in the hospitals are armed with advanced knowledge on more complex medical procedures and are able to employ the use of sophisticated technology.

Mostly educated in the West, these doctors break the language barrier by effectively communicating in English.

However, if it is advanced health care that you are looking for, it is best to scout hospitals in Bangkok or other major cities in Thailand.

Medical services (be it for health reasons or aesthetic purposes) in Thailand are definitely less expensive than in the US or even in more developed neighbouring Asian countries, despite the comparable level of medical expertise.

Reminder to Expats

It is always advised that you have either cash or a health card ready, as cash is requested upfront before you can be admitted to a hospital. Due to a high demand and a lack of logistics in many hospitals, emergency services are not always timely or efficient.

Vaccinations for malaria, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis A are not mandatory but they are recommended. Also, be wary of additional treatments that doctors in Thai hospitals recommend.