Tourism Burdening Thai Hospitals

by Admin on November 22, 2019

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Unpaid medical bills by tourists visiting Thailand are placing an increasingly large burden on hospitals in the Kingdom.

Vachira Phuket Hospital, for example, sees thousands of foreigner patients who come into their building each year for things like motorbike accidents, dog or monkey bites, or a variety of sicknesses.

Many of these tourists have travel insurance, which covers the cost of their hospital stay.

But many others leave Thailand without paying, leaving the hospital to deal with the financial loss.

The hospital’s director, Chalermpong Sukontapol, recalls one incident of a motorbike accident that left a tourist in his hospital for months with a head injury.

After all was said and done, the tourist owed 800,000 ($26,400) baht to the hospital.

To this day though, the hospital bill has never been paid.

Despite making visits to friends of the tourists or the embassy of their country, debts rarely get paid when goes back to their country without paying.

“We cannot deny accepting foreign patients because of the doctor ethic,” Chalermpong said. “We are a government hospital. Doctors and staff treat foreign patients the same way we do Thai people.”

Thailand’s tourism numbers continue to surge and with that more of a burden has fallen on hospitals.

Many tourists prepare enough funds for travel expenses such as nightlife, activities, food, transportation, and sightseeing but rarely save enough for an emergency.

According to Thailand and US immigration lawyers, the Thai government is considering changes to remedy the burden placed on hospitals due to unpaid medical expenses.

Among these changes is a new 100 baht health insurance fee on tourists as well as mandatory health insurance for expats aged 50 and up.

Read the full story here.

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