Healthcare costs are one of the key considerations for foreigners coming to live and work in Thailand.
The question often asked is how can one minimize these costs associated with health care? While private health insurance is available, premiums do get more expensive as you age, and for some insurers, once the customer reaches 65 or 70 years of age, you are either not offered any further insurance, or the list of exclusions makes it hardly worth it, even with prohibitive premiums.
Availing yourself to the comprehensive Thai social security hospital insurance scheme for $15 per month is an option for many who work in Thailand, so long as you sign up for it within six months of leaving your job. Doing so gives you lifetime universal health care funded by the Thai social security system and is probably one of the best health insurance deals around.
One additional option allows access to discounted health care which is also available to Thai’s and expats alike is subsidised in-patient health care via Thailand’s Red Cross. There is one condition, you have to be a regular blood donor!
However, if you’ve donated blood to the Thai Red Cross, Thailand’s two Red Cross affiliated hospitals (The very well regarded Chulalongkorn Hospital in downtown Bangkok and Queen Savang Vadhana Memorial Hospital in Sri Racha) will offer discounts on a number of services, depending on the amount of times you’ve donated.
Discounts on healthcare charges
At the two main Red Cross hospitals in Thailand, the following health care discounts will be offered, based on your donation history.
Donated 7 times: Entitlements to 50% off birth and regular surgical costs.
Donated 24 times: Ordinary medical expenses are free at Red Cross hospitals in Thailand.
At Thai Ministry of Public Health hospitals (public hospitals), donors with more than 18 donations will get 50% off room and special food fees. Even one donation will entitle you to a room discount and on some food according to scheduled fees. Note however, these benefits kick in after your other government provided benefits are exhausted (eg. Social Security health coverage).
Note: You must have made these donations before the age of 60, however the benefits are for life. To access take your donor card with you to the hospital and your charges will be adjusted accordingly.
Is this available to non-Thai Citizens?
Yes, it is. You just need to be a registered blood donor in Thailand. In case you think all this is it is too good to be true, here the links to official letters in Thai and English from the Thai Red Cross National Blood Centre on the matter.
Further good news too, as of May 2023 – as reported by Richard Barrow – the Thai Red Cross in Bangkok will allow those who have previously lived in the UK, France and Ireland to now donate, BUT ONLY at the National Blood Centre in Bangkok on Henri Dunant Rd.