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Migrants from four countries eligible for health benefits

The Nation - 6 April 2015 - Workers from Myanmar, laos, Cambodia and Vietnam now get better coverage

MIGRANT workers from Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam can now buy healthcare insurance and enjoy healthcare benefits that are on par with what Thais get via the country's universal healthcare scheme.

"The insurance covers chronic diseases, surgeries, and even high-cost anti-retroviral drugs," Public Health Ministry deputy permanent secretary Amnuay Gajeena said yesterday.

He said insurance fees were Bt2,100 for one-year coverage, Bt1,400 for six-month coverage, and Bt1,000 for three-month coverage.

The fees have already included the first health checks for migrant workers - a measure that the relevant authorities have used to monitor and control diseases in the country.

"For children aged under seven years old, the fee is just Bt365 for one-year coverage," Amnuay added.

Only Myanmar, Laotian, Cambodian and Vietnamese workers and their dependants are eligible to buy such healthcare insurance. The purchases can be made at any state hospital or participating private hospital. Even those who work in Thailand during the day and return home at night can buy it, he said.

The healthcare insurance was revealed in an announcement made by the Public Health Ministry.

Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin said his ministry issued two new announcements at the end of last month to improve foreign workers' access to healthcare services.

"These announcements have taken effect since April 1," he said.

Amnuay said foreigners who were not Myanmar, Vietnamese, Laotian or Cambodian could buy another type of insurance.

This type of insurance covers free medical treatments including vaccination. The fees are Bt2,700 for one-year coverage (including a health-check fee of Bt500) for adults and Bt363 for children aged under seven years old.

"If you are outside the social security system, you can buy such insurance," Amnuay said.

At present, Thailand is host to millions of migrant workers.

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