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Thai government rolls out medical coverage for foreign tourists

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The government is introducing a medical coverage scheme for tourists on holiday in the kingdom, Nation Thailand reports. Foreign visitors will receive coverage of up to 500,000 baht in the event of an accident in Thailand, and compensation of up to 1 million baht in the event of death.

The scheme is a joint initiative of the health and tourism ministries, aimed at boosting visitor confidence and sending a message that tourists will be taken care of in the event of an accident.

Tourism minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol says 50 million baht of the ministry’s emergency budget has been earmarked to fund the scheme.

Compensation will be awarded to tourists on a case by case basis for travel in Thailand between January 1 and August 31 this year. Tourists can make a claim within 15 days of an accident and will be compensated around 15 days later.

In the event of death, the maximum compensation is 1 million baht and 300,000 baht in the event of loss of sight, permanent organ loss, or permanent disability. Hospital costs will be covered up to a maximum of 500,000 baht. However, the minister points out that tourists will not be eligible for cover if the accident arises through risky or illegal behaviour.

Foreigners on a tourist visa can apply at provincial tourism offices or tourists’ assistance centres at Bangkok’s Suvnarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports. Alternatively, applications can be sent by post or email. The government will issue the insurance coverage through its Thailand Traveller Safety platform, which allows foreign citizens holding tourist visas to register.

The scheme is designed to fill the gap left by the expiry of the Foreign Tourists Assistance Fund, which was dissolved two years ago. A new tourism fee has been much discussed but is yet to be introduced. The 300 baht fee would be levied on those arriving by air, whereas those arriving overland or by sea would pay 150 baht. However, it appears to have been postponed indefinitely.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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