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Healthcare in Thailand: 5 things expats need to know

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Healthcare in Thailand: 5 things expats need to know


Medical services in Thailand are generally good, and have improved significantly in the last couple of decades, but there is more room for improvement. Healthcare provisions have proven not to be sufficient enough for many expats living in the country for a number of reasons.

Make sure you are well informed about health services in Thailand to ensure you can receive the best possible health care. For a start, here are 5 basic things you should know, brought to you by Cigna Global – a specialist in international healthcare:

1- Shortage of GPs

One of the challenges expats encounter in Thailand is a reported shortage of general practitioners. With most doctors in the country being specialists, it is difficult to find a general practitioner who can treat individuals for minor medical problems.

The shortage of general practitioners can have negative implications on good primary care, and forces individuals to get treatment at hospitals for a higher cost. However, some GPs can be found at certain hospitals. A good insurance company will provide a 24-hour helpline and can suggest medical facilities.

2- Traffic jams

Thailand is known for its high volume of traffic, especially in large cities like Bangkok, which can affect the efficiency of health services in cases of emergency. Ambulances often have difficulty responding and transporting patients rapidly. Furthermore, most doctors in Thailand have work schedules that require them to travel constantly, from hospital to hospital, and their capability to attend patients is also affected by traffic jams.

Visitors in Thailand who consider may require prompt medical attention are recommended to base their location near a hospital to help with these inconveniences.

3- Health hazards

Thailand’s tropical climate is loved by many expats – but it has its downside. The warm weather generates the ideal conditions for bacteria and viruses to grow, aggravating health hazards in the country.

Mosquitos represent a particular risk for expats arriving to the country. Mosquito bites are responsible for serious illnesses like Dengue, Malaria, Chikungunya, and Japanese encephalitis. Residents are strongly advised to use repellents and seek medical attention if flu-like symptoms arise.

Other health risks are diseases caused by contaminated water, such as cholera. Expats should take extra precautions and drink only bottled water.

It’s highly advised to seek medical advice before travelling to Thailand, as there are a number of recommended vaccinations for foreigners to help fight the risks.

4- Private hospitals are the first choice

Even though the standards of care provided by Thai public hospitals are good, expats are likely to use and rely on private hospitals, which generally offer top quality treatment and considerably shorter waiting times for patients.

Private treatment can also prove to be inexpensive in comparison to what expats are used to coming from the United States or European countries.

Some hospitals in the private sector have a high reputation. Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok is one of them. Many private hospitals employ medical staff who have received education in Western universities, meaning doctors who speak English are readily available in the private sector.

5- Private insurance

A private health plan is the best option for expats, as it can provide access to the best care through private medical facilities, and it helps to alleviate the issues with the country’s healthcare system, especially the availability of doctors and response times for treatment.

There are many international insurance companies that can provide health policies for expats in Thailand.

Cigna Global specializes in expat health care, and offers a high level of care facilities for foreign nationals in Thailand. They offer expats the flexibility to choose from three levels of cover and five optional additional benefits, including outpatient care, medical evacuation, and vision & dental care.

When purchasing a private policy, it’s important to research, compare, and consider the premiums.

Visit www.cignaglobal.com for more information on Individual Private Medical Insurance or to get a free no-obligation quote.

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