THAILAND

The health care in Thailand’s major cities is quite good because many have one or more high-quality private international hospitals available.

Health care outside these areas is available in Government hospitals, which can provide good basic care.

Thailand bills itself as a HUB for medical tourism.

Thailand’s major cities also have several clinics with a doctor present for general medical care. They also have an abundance of pharmacies. Unlike western countries, many medicines can be obtained without the need for a doctor's prescription.  Some of the larger pharmacies also have medical equipment available for purchase.

Although not many, there are some assisted living facilities available. However, for those that are older or already have health issues, Thai health insurance may be difficult to obtain.

If there is any area not fully up to western standards, it is in the area of emergency medical response.


Scroll down for information on the following topics


PCEC Member Hospital Discount
Hospital Facilities & Doctors
Emergency Response
Medicine, Pharmacies, Medical Equipment, & Laboratories

Health Insurance
Assisted Living Facilities
Other Information



PCEC DISCOUNT

The Pattaya City Expats Club has long standing arrangements with two excellent private international hospitals for member discounts.

Bangkok Hospital Pattaya is located on Sukhumvit Road north of Pattaya Nua (North) Road. It is the largest International Hospital in Pattaya.

Phyathai Hospital Sriracha is located about 30 minutes north of Pattaya in the City of Sriracha.

Both have regular promotions on selected medical services, diagnostic procedures, and check-ups.

The two hospitals usually advise us of their current promotions which we link from the Health Issues section of the Club’s weekly Newsletter.

Click the button below for more information on the Hospitals and discounts offered.

Information & Member Discounts



HOSPITAL FACILITIES & DOCTORS


Many of the private international hospitals have various specialty clinics that handle outpatient diagnosis and treatment. Medical clinics staffed with one or two doctors may also be available in the larger cities.

Doctors may divide their time between two or more hospitals and/or clinics. So, one should check with the hospital or clinic on the hours the doctor will be available if they want to see that particular doctor.

Private International hospitals are more expensive than government hospitals, but they tend to be the favorite choice of Expats because they have the latest equipment and many of their doctors have received some of their training in America, Europe, Australia, etc.  Also, they have more English speaking staff and may have an International Department that can provide interpreters for other major languages.

Unlike many western countries, appointments to see doctors at the international hospitals can often be made for the same day or only a day or two in advance. Similarly, surgical procedures can be scheduled and performed within a short period of time.

Government hospitals, even with a surcharge for foreigners are substantially less costly and their doctors usually speak English, but many of the nursing and other staff do not. Also, specialists are usually found at the larger government hospitals. Banglamung Hospital handles Pattaya patients, but does not have all specialties. Patients needing certain specialist care will often be sent to Chonburi Provincial Hospital in Chonburi, Thailand.  However, many Expats that use Government hospitals prefer to go to Queen Sirikit Hospital located near Sattahip, Thailand, which is also the hospital of the major Thai Royal Navy Base in Sattahip. 


Click the button below for

Hospitals Serving Pattaya Thailand


Click the button below for

Expat Recommended Providers


EMERGENCY RESPONSE


Thailand has an unconventional approach to providing first responders in an emergency: it sends volunteers from Foundations that undertake that responsibility. Fully equipped ambulances with professional staff are usually requested from one of the Hospitals.

There are usually three levels of medical emergency help in from the Foundations, from first responder (FR) level to basic life support (BLS) level, and advanced life support (ALS) level.

Most volunteers have attained the FR level. They are affiliated with foundations and local administrative bodies.

In Pattaya, it will be a Rescue Team from the Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation. They have six fully equipped ambulances and one rescue vehicle based at the foundation

All the staff are trained to one of three levels: emergency first response, emergency medical response or, the highest level, emergency medical technician. All the ambulances have an EMT on board. These teams, along with the rescue vehicle, are normally on the scene before any other service.

There are two numbers you can call, 1669, the national hotline that will transfer you to the local office, and, in Pattaya, 038-222-474 directly. English speakers are not always available, so it’s best to have a Thai-speaker call.  Click here to read an article in the Pattaya Mail about their operation.

You can also call one of the Pattaya Hospitals to request an ambulance. Response time will depend on your location in Pattaya as ambulances are usually dispatched from the Hospital. 


Bangkok Hospital Pattaya can if requested, send their "cardiac care" ambulance which is fully equipped for heart emergencies and will usually have a doctor and nurse on board. Call 1719. 


MEDICINE,  PHARMACIES, MEDICAL EQUIPMENT & LABORATORIES


Medicine

For those that may be on a regimen of medication, you will most likely find that it is available at hospitals and pharmacies in Thailand - although it may be made by a different pharmaceutical company or may be the generic version.

If you are taking a particular medication, it may be offered in Thailand under a different brand name or by its generic name. In most cases, pharmacists should be able to look up your particular brand and identify its equivalent that is available in Thailand. Prices do vary with the private hospitals being at the top end.

By law, private hospitals must display or provide the prices of medicines so that consumers can make better-informed decisions prior to purchase. They also must give patients the opportunity to buy medicines from pharmacies outside the hospital using prescriptions provided by their doctors. Since many medicines are available without a doctor's prescription, you can ask your doctor to write out the name of the medicine, dosage, and quantity so that you can inform the pharmacist as to what you need.  Click here to read a May 2019 article from the Bangkok Post about the change in law.


Pharmacies

In addition to the hospitals, there are numerous pharmacies available.  You will find that many medicines that require a prescription in western countries are available over the counter in Thai pharmacies.

Thais often go to a pharmacist rather than a doctor, describe their ills, and the pharmacist provides a medication. Some Expats have taken up this practice; but this may not be the wisest way to treat an illness as the symptoms may relate to one or more illnesses and the pharmacist is not trained to diagnose illnesses (also, some staff at a pharmacy may not be a trained pharmacist).

Considering that a consultation with a medical doctor is relatively inexpensive, it may be best to see a doctor. Under Thai law, you cannot be required to purchase your medication from the hospital or clinic you can have the doctor write it out for you and take it to a pharmacy where the price will be lower.

CAUTION: If the price is too low to be believed, then the pharmacy may be offering medicines from an unreliable source (counterfeit drugs that do not contain or have a limited amount of the chemical compounds for the medication - these are often packaged to look legitimate). We suggest you use only pharmacies that have been recommended to you or use the larger pharmacies. 

Click button below for Expat recommended pharmacies in Pattaya

Pattaya Pharmacies


Medical Equipment

Medical equipment is for sale in Pattaya, but at present we are not aware of any business that provide rentals.

The Fascino Pharmacy on Pattaya Nua (North Road} and at the Sukhumvit entrance to Bangkok Hospital Pattaya) have a wide range of medical equipment including wheelchairs, hospital beds, etc. for sale.

The D Pharmacy on Sukhumvit Road, opposite side from Pattaya Orphanage, has some equipment for sale.

For hearing aids, DMED Hearing is located adjacent to D Pharmacy on Sukhumvit Road offers a variety of hearing aids and free hearing examination.


Independent Laboratory

Pattaya has one independent laboratory that will do various tests and provide you with the results. Since Hospitals and clinics charge a consultation fee in addition to laboratory tests, many Expat use this laboratory when all they want are test results, which are usually less expensive than that charged by the International hospitals. 


Clinical Lifecare Laboratory

(Click for Website)- select English in upper right hand corner)

247/59 Moo 10 Pattaya Third Road

(Going toward Bali Hai Pier before the overpass)

Telephone: 038-488-048 or 081-481-7180


HEALTH INSURANCE



Health insurance is often a concern of Expats, especially those from countries with a national health care or Medicare (USA) program that do not cover them outside their home countries.

Health policies are available in Thailand. These policies offer various types of coverage and premiums. 


Some foreign health insurance policies may cover you for treatment in Thailand (you will need to determine from your insurer if it does or does not).  In such cases, some International hospitals will accept and direct bill the insurer; in others it may be necessary to pay for treatment and then claim reimbursement from your insurer.

For insurers that are accepted for direct billing, the hospital may require a deposit until they get a “letter of guarantee” from your insurer. If you plan to visit, you may be able to obtain a Travel insurance policy before departure; be sure to read the fine print as coverage may be limited and have in country time restrictions.

Expats can obtain health insurance from a Thai insurance company. In most case, the following will apply depending on insurer and type of policy:

  • Some lower priced policies may cover you only in Thailand or have limitations on coverage outside the country.
  • Most will have age restrictions or the premiums go up substantially when you reach a certain age. In some cases, if a policy is obtained by a certain age, it can be continued beyond their otherwise maximum age. Others will no longer provide coverage beyond a certain age.
  • It almost universal that they will exclude pre-existing conditions. Depending on health history, some insurers may require physical examination beforehand. If you develop a condition after being insured, it will usually continue to be covered as you renew the policy, but may be excluded if you change policy limits or add outpatient cover if not previously obtained.
  • Most Thai policies cover emergency and inpatient care but offer outpatient care as an add on for an increased premium; in many cases outpatient care is limited as to number of visits during the policy period.
  • Depending on the policy obtained, there may be limits on the amount covered for each stay/visit as well as a maximum lifetime payout (e.g., maximum amount for emergency room treatment, maximum daily amount for room and nursing services, maximum daily amount for inpatient physician services, etc.).  Also, be sure to understand the policy exclusions as Thai insurance policies do not necessarily cover all health related illnesses.
  • Some insurers may offer future premium discounts based on your claims history.

Because of the numerous choices and types of coverage, you may wish to use an insurance broker/agent as they can provide information on the different insurers and policy types for comparison purposes.

CAUTION:  Health insurers have been known to deny coverage for an undisclosed pre-existing condition. The best policy when applying for health insurance is to list all known pre-existing conditions and sort it out with the insurer on what will or will not be covered beforehand.



ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES



There are many Expat retirees in Pattaya.  As they grow older, they may find the need to for an assisted living facility. 

There are facilities in the Pattaya area offering services for the elderly and those needing nursing care. They provide both short stay for those needing temporary assistance and long stay for those seeking a retirement home.

We have no specific reports on services offered or the quality of care or suitability of the facilities.

The following list linked to their websites is provided for information purposes only, the PCEC makes no guarantees or endorsements as to quality of service or adequacy of the facility – therefore, you should perform your own due diligence if you contemplate using one of them.

Namthip Nursing

Nursing Home Health Care Services

Nursing Resort Pattaya

Absolute Living Thailand 

Mandara Assisted Lifestyle

Sunshine Residences - planned, click here for presentation to the PCEC.


OTHER INFORMATION




Living Will

A Living Will also known as an advance healthcare directive, personal directive, advance directive, medical directive or advance decision, is a legal document in which a person specifies what actions should be taken for their health if they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves because of illness or incapacity and who can make such decisions; including foregoing extraordinary actions to prolong life in the case of terminal illness. A Living Will does not allow mercy killing or euthanasia.

Living Wills are legal in Thailand (National Health Act 2007, Section 12 as implemented by Ministry regulations). A “Living Will” in Thailand, must comply with a number of conditions in order to be valid, including indicating which forms of health care the maker does not wish to receive.



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