ThailandNew regulations allow public hospitals to vary charges

Tourists who get sick in Thailand will pay more

Thai hospitals
Getting sick in Thailand may soon cost you more. Photo Credit: Tharakorn/Getty Images

BANGKOK - Travellers heading for Thailand should check their travel insurance following the release of new regulations essentially making it legal for public hospitals to bill foreign nationals more for their services than they charge locals.

Dual-pricing has been a feature for national parks, museums and amusement parks in Thailand, but now Thai public hospitals will be able to set their own prices for treatment of international visitors.

The new regulations set four tiers of rates to be charged based on a patient’s visa status. Treatment costs differ between Thai nationals,  those from Asean countries, working foreigners on non-immigrant visas and a fourth group - tourists and retirees.

Thailand’s medical tourism brought in an estimated US$600 million in 2018, mostly for treatment received at private hospitals.

The new rates come into effect September 29.

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