Thailand Requiring Travel Insurance?

packing for your trip to thailand A report from UPI says that Thailand may soon require all visitors to either show proof of travel insurance or obtain travel insurance when entering the county. Thai government officials apparently see the lack of insurance as a burden on Thai hospitals.

BANGKOK, June 28 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in Thailand say they want all foreign tourists to be required to purchase travel and health insurance before arriving in their country.

Thailand's Public Health Ministry Wednesday proposed the measure during a meeting with representatives from the Airports of Thailand, Royal Thai Police and other government ministries, the Bangkok Post reported.

The health ministry has suggested the cost of health insurance coverage might be included in visa fees, Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said at the meeting. Those visiting Thailand without visas would be required to buy insurance at immigration checkpoints or the fees could be added to the cost of airline tickets.

After the meeting, Pradit said all of those involved agreed to set up a subcommittee to work on the proposal.

The health ministry set up the meeting after Thailand's government asked it to address concerns about the financial burden on the country's state hospitals, which are required to provide foreigners with free medical service, Pradit said. Source

Reaction among travelers and expats varied. One of the primary questions is what happens if a tourist arrives without insurance. Other suspect that the government may institute a “pay on arrival” option

Some of the comments --

“Free medical services for foreigners at state hospitals.... when did that start then?”

“I was thinking the same, fees for foreigners are normally double at surgeries and hospitals anyway. Anyone have a list of the medical facilities in Chiangmai who provide the free service for farangs? I have been using Chiangmai Ram and can't even get out the door until you pay.”

“Should not be a huge problem to introduce a compulsory travel insurance except that the visa law today which allow border runs have to be abandon and the 30/90 day visa exemption which many countries have with Thailand.”

“Never gonna happen. There will be so much pushback from around the world that this poorly thought out proposal will die a fast death.” “Why is this necessary? What percentage of the government hospital costs are attributable to nonpaying, or uninsured farangs? not many i don't think. Spent 7 days in a government hospital. I saw one other farang (for a broken leg I think). He paid, i think, because his Thai wife and family came to get him. I paid. Other than that, there were no farangs in the admissions area, surgical area where i was, the emergency area, pharmacy area, convenience store or the cafe or anywhere where i went.

Travelers would to well to buy medical travel insurance policy. While it may not be convenient or cheap, do you really want to risk the obvious options. More articles on travel insurance