A group of retired Swedish expats who are living in Phuket, Hua Hin, Bangkok and UdonThani and other parts of the country are pushing for health insurance in Thailand for retirees and those who are living and staying long term in Thailand. This move hopes to find some form of relief to the Thai government hospitals that have been spending millions of baht to provide medical care to foreigners residing in the Kingdom.
Initially, the Swedish government wanted to provide state-subsidized healthcare insurance for the expat retirees living in Thailand. The level of coverage will be the same level of coverage as what the retirees in Sweden and elsewhere in Europe receive.
According to Bo Jonsson, a long term Phuket expat who is serving as chair of Thailand Federation of Swedish Associations (SAMS), the move is aimed at providing healthcare coverage for Swedish nationals with long term stay in Thailand and are going back and forth from Thailand to Sweden regularly. Most f them are still registered as Swedish nationals with travel insurance that does not cover contagious diseases and illnesses that are already treated in the home country.
Last year, Vachira Phuket Hospital revealed that it has spent 10 million baht a year for the treatment of foreigners without health insurance. Many Swedes who worked for years abroad have retired in Thailand. They used to have healthcare insurance that is provided by their employers. After employment, they risked not having any insurance at all. Some cannot afford to pay the premiums.
Once the retirees have finished working, they were simply left to fend for themselves that is why there is a segment of society that are at the mercy of insurance companies that offer new and more expensive policies. Once an individual is 70 years old and more, health insurance becomes very expensive.
Meanwhile, there is no substitute to the benefits that can be gained through health insurance in Thailand whether for the expats, retirees and Thais. Comprehensive insurance packages includes 24/7 worldwide coverage and actual medical expenses for both outpatient and inpatient. Maximum lifetime benefits of up to 50 million baht are provided per disability/year and choice for discount and annual deductibles.