Global Snapshots - Thailand: the 30 baht health plan
- By: Hilary Towse
In April 2001, Thailand became one of the first middle or low income countries to introduce universal healthcare coverage to the population. The system covers all previously uninsured people and those from the lowest income groups--more than 30% of the population.1 The system aims to provide the same quality of service as those covered by other forms of insurance--for example, healthcare cover as an employee benefit.
Praised by the World Health Organization, the success of the system will be watched closely as a possible model for other countries. Under this scheme dubbed the “30 baht health plan,” people buy a gold card that entitles the holder to medical care and treatment for a single fee of 30 baht (about 40 pence). This covers most care, but excludes more advanced treatment such as kidney dialysis and antiretroviral drugs.
The system is financed jointly from government revenue, out of pocket payments, and