Thailand legalizes dual pricing in hospitals
Dual pricing is common place in Thailand. Many businesses, national parks, and street vendors offer set prices for locals and inflated prices for foreigners. Many businesses will hide their “Thai price” within their Thai signage, using Thai numerals to list the cheaper local price.
Expats don’t typically mind the dual pricing arrangement too much. Experienced farangs have their handful of anecdotes regarding a time when they were overcharged, but dual pricing is seen as an unfortunate fact of life in Thailand. The main issue surrounding dual pricing has been how it translates to medical care.
On August 30th, the Thai government announced a standard for dual pricing in government hospitals. The announcement specifies four categories of patients that pricing is based on:
- Neighboring Southeast Asians
- Expats and non-immigrant visa holders
- Tourists and retirees
The announcement also establishes a price ceiling for specific medical procedures. Each procedure has a different price ceiling based on the citizenship and visa of the patient. The announcement goes on to claim that prices in government hospitals will be made public, so no guessing games when it comes time to pay. The new pricing arrangement takes effect on September 29th.
Thai people are unaffected by these new changes. Some locals say the law is justifiable since the healthcare industry brings in plenty of money. Other locals are opposed to foreigners being in government hospitals all together.
In a comment on Pantip, one Thai citizen complains that there are too many foreigners in government hospitals. They say that government hospitals should be for locals who don’t have the money for more expensive hospitals, and foreigners are taking up time and space from locals who deserve treatment.