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Phuket Poll: Should travel insurance be compulsory?

PHUKET: News broke this week that all foreign tourists will soon be required to have travel insurance before entering Thailand under a proposal put forward by a committee of the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

tourism, accidents, health, opinion,

The Phuket News

Wednesday 7 June 2017, 01:01PM

Many tourists need hospital treatment while on holiday in Thailand, but who should be picking up the bill? Photo: PR Dept / file
Many tourists need hospital treatment while on holiday in Thailand, but who should be picking up the bill? Photo: PR Dept / file

According to a report from the Bangkok Post, citing an “informed source”, the proposal will be forwarded for consideration by the national tourism policy commission. (See story here.)

The concept is not new, and initially surfaced in 2013. (See story here.)

In that push, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) worked with private insurance companies to create a policy that cost only B650 but provided medical coverage of up to B1 million. (See story here.)

However, apparently that coverage was not attractive enough, and in 2015 the Royal Thai Government spent about B420 million covering the medical costs of tourists who had no travel insurance.

Currently, any visitors to Thailand – including tourists and expats staying on non-immigrant visas – are entitled to receive free medical treatment at government hospitals, though there are limits on which medical treatments are free. (See Q&A here.)

To all this, The Phuket News asks our readers the simple question, “Should travel insurance be made compulsory for visitors to Thailand?”

Responses available are:

1) Yes, all travellers should have insurance and any country tourists visit should not have to pick up the tab for medical expenses during their time inside the country.

2) No, leave the system as it is. Most tourists have travel insurance, and the only tourists the government is providing medical care to are those receiving public health care... This is the price of hosting tourists.

3) No, and the government should not pick up the bill, as other countries let injured and sick tourists pay their own hospital fees.

To vote in the poll, click here.

The poll will run for two weeks, and close at midnight June 20.

If your preferred response is not available, feel free to add it in the comments below.

To see the results of our previous poll, asking “Do the current penalties deter people from breaking the traffic laws?”, click here.

If you have a suggestion for a poll, email with “Poll Suggestion” in the Subject line.



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Rich 44 | 20 June 2017 - 21:28:04

A small fee attached to obtaining a Visa should be deposited into a fund.
Adjusted to make sure medical events are covered.

The Phuket News

yvonne | 20 June 2017 - 18:05:01

Paulo, There is NO way A Schengen Visa or a UK Visa can be obtained by South Africans and many other Countries without sufficient Medical cover Policies of their own  or a purchased Travel Policy.With that goes, 3 months latest bank statements, application form, valid Passport, Fully paid return Airticket,Certified Vouchers for PAID Accommodation 
 Proof of Employment, Proof of permanent address or home 
ownershersip(Municipal accounts or valuations)Proof of Income
or Pension PLUS !!a PERSONA:  Visit to the Visa Centre or Embassy/nearest Consulate for BIO Metrics ( fingerprints) to be taken and ALL these Documents handed in.. WITHOUT Visa stamped in Passports, AIRLINES  will NOT board Passengers  and NO WAY Immigration will allow Passengers to Depart! So no Emergency treatment in all Countries as you state, will not even be allowed to Depart to All countries requiring Visas to enter. 

The Phuket News

Kurt | 20 June 2017 - 17:47:54

Pauly44: You are right. The International hospitals on Phuket are doing financially very well. That is good.

Their Fincom departments have a regimental way of financial care. Excellent.

Well thinking tourists from overseas not travel without a holiday insurance.
Again, After all, it is a very small percentage of their travel. Right?
Prevents them to become cyber beggars to ask for money for sending a body home, or contribute to pay their hospital bills.
Perhaps this sounds heartless, but include it in your Thailand holiday planning.

The Phuket News

Pauly44 | 20 June 2017 - 16:40:21

Can't imagine any of the so called "International" hospitals in Phuket are doing too bad considering the fees they charge whooaa!

The Phuket News

Foot | 20 June 2017 - 14:33:54

There is much talk worldwide about hospitals having a difficult time making enough money to survive.  The blame is placed on all the patients that can’t, or don’t, pay their bills.  Have no fear.  Any properly managed hospital makes enough money.  But, how?  First, you have to understand the basic billing policies of hospital.

For example, let’s say 10 people have a procedure.  These 10 pay the bill through insurance or self pay.  $10,000 is collected.  In addition to the 10, let’s add 5 who can’t pay.  To pay for them, the first 10 are charged $15,000, which is still paid.  The hospital does more procedures and still nets $1,000 each.  As a result, all those that can pay, pay more through higher insurance rates or self pay.  Every procedure, all work provided, is billed using the average needed to be profitable.

This balancing act certainly isn’t easy.  It requires a talented hospital administration.  Any hospital that can’t consistently show a profit isn’t doing it correctly.  Sure, some lose money, but, except for surprise exceptions, it is the fault of the hospital administration.  As in all business’, sometimes the bosses aren’t very good.

So, the next time you hear a Hospital Administrator saying the hospital can’t make money, understand, that they mean they don’t know how to run the place.

Time to fire the boss.

The Phuket News

Kurt | 09 June 2017 - 18:34:00

To keep things simple for foreign tourists:
Forget all you read and hear here, Just have your travel & health/accident insurance for a Thailand holiday settled/done in your home country before you depart to Thailand.
Don't trust thai holiday insurances. Not worth the premium you have to pay.
To many escapes in avoiding to pay out in case. 

The Phuket News

Pauly44 | 09 June 2017 - 13:39:43

Eagle; Whether it happens all the time or not is irrelevant, the fact that it exists at all is shameful, even more so in vital public services. My wife has embarrassed them on many occasions when confronted with double pricing, disgusting. I never said I dislike the place although there is a fair bit wrong with it, my comments are factual based on observation & why I visit is none of your business.

The Phuket News

CaptainJack69 | 09 June 2017 - 13:09:39

According to the website about visa requirements for the UK there's no requirement for insurance when applying for a tourist visa ("Standard Visitor Visa"). In fact you're specifically instructed NOT to submit insurance information with an application.

Are some procedures not free to tourists in the UK health-care system? Maybe. I don't know. But we're talking about the emergency treatment that travel insurance would pay for and THAT is always free in the UK.

Something like visiting the dentist can rarely be called an emergency and could even be called elective. Travel insurance will only pay for urgent emergency treatment and, perhaps, repatriation.  As I've said, it certainly wont pay for motorbike injuries, so even with insurance most tourists end up having to pay for their "Thailand tattoos".

The Phuket News

Pauly44 | 09 June 2017 - 07:45:49

I also completely agree with CaptainJack statement; If Thailand wants the tourist dollars they must be prepared to provide adequate services to facilitate this, they can't have their cake & eat it too, there is NO discrimination in majority of other countries with regards to providing healthcare, ANYONE is entitled to it as a basic human right if they are legally allowed in the country.

The Phuket News

Pauly44 | 09 June 2017 - 07:15:31

Eagle; There is two tier pricing everywhere in Thailand, I went to the dino water park with my kids the other day, foreigners were charged twice as much as locals, admission prices were even published at ticketing, how blatant is that!! Foreigners could get a cheaper price if they could prove they reside in Thailand, what a joke. I also experience this everywhere as my wife is Thai, do not try to dispute this. It's true Thailand can still be a cheap holiday if you stay in some village in the sticks, but tourists mostly holiday in the tourist traps where prices have just gone through the roof, I have expat friends who live in Phuket, cost of international schools are on par with top level private schools in my country, this is Phuket we're talking about, ridiculous! And don't get sick without insurance, Phuket hospitals are the same. Foreigners get fleeced in Thailand. 

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