All foreigners who work in Phuket and pay into the Thai social service system from their salary are provided with free medical care. However, for those foreigners who are not working and are not entitled to free medical care health insurance should be a priority.
Some expats living here disregard the importance of getting some kind of healthcare. Many believe that because they are usually healthy they won’t become sick or suffer any kind of injury. However, for any expat living in any country, sickness or injury can never be ruled out and therefore it is essential that they obtain some kind of healthcare cover.
What’s to say you won’t fall off a motorbike or suffer from food poisoning? Even I, after living here for more than 3 years has fallen victim to minor food poisoning, luckily only once, after eating food that had a touch of bad bacteria.
These are just a couple of examples of which could affect you when in Phuket. However, if you’re a retiree here it’s possible that you may need some kind of medical treatment simply due to your age.
What are your Hospital Choices
You have two choices when it comes to hospitals providing healthcare for expats; a Thai hospital or an international hospital. There are two international hospitals in Phuket, Bangkok Hospital Phuket and Phuket International Hospital. Although both are expensive compared to Thai hospitals they are both somewhat cheaper than hospitals in western countries.
Beyond the two international hospitals there are a small number of Thai and government hospitals for you to choose from, Patong Hospital, Mission Hospital, Vichara Hospital and the PPAO Hospital. A number of expats chose to go to a private Thai hospital; however English-speaking staff are not so as readily available as in the international hospitals. You will however find the care to be of a similar standard as an international hospital but usually a fair bit cheaper.
One of the great things for expats about healthcare in Phuket is should you have a minor ailment, you can go to one of the many local pharmacies and purchase medication without the need to visit a clinic or hospital. One of the most common medications bought without a prescription is antibiotics. Furthermore, if there is certain medication that you take regularly (such as an asthma inhaler) you can usually get them from the pharmacy. You will also find that many of the pharmacists speak English.
There are a number of companies that offer healthcare insurance for expats. Some expat employers even offer healthcare as one of the perks of working for them. However, most minor care is affordable even without insurance which will give you the opportunity to shop around for major medical insurance coverage to supplement your healthcare costs in Thailand.