Insurance firms keen to cover civil servants
Healthcare service could start in October
Large insurance companies have expressed interest in taking over the government's role in providing health insurance coverage for almost 5 million state officials and their families.
The insurers have accepted the three conditions demanded by the government, said Anon Vangvasu, president of Thai General Insurance Association, without revealing names of the interested insurance firms.
The three conditions are healthcare benefits for state officials and their families will be the same as they are now, the quality of services must not be deteriorated and total healthcare premiums must not exceed the current government's spending for healthcare costs.
At present, the government pays 68 billion baht a year from 20 million healthcare claims from state officials and their families. The government is seeking a way to cap healthcare spending, which has risen by 2 billion baht a year on average.
Higher healthcare benefits and the rising number of ageing state officials are blamed for increasing costs.
He said insurance companies expect to start providing healthcare coverage to state officials and their families in October 2017 if the Finance Ministry passes the job to them.
To smooth out the provision of healthcare and invest in software expected to cost hundreds of million baht a year, the association might need to form a unit to exclusively handle the matters, said Mr Anon.
Several insurance companies would jointly provide healthcare coverage to state officials and their families and the benefits will remain in place for the first one to two years of operations, he said.
The insurance firms would later propose options for those who prefer to see doctors at privately owned hospitals, said Mr Anon.
Though interested insurance firms do not want to make a profit from the service, neither do they have the money to cover large loss-making operations, he said.
In a related development, the association will propose ideas to encourage more people to take care of their health, such as longer opening hours for public parks and fitness centres on evenings and weekends, and reforming food production processes to reduce contamination, said Mr Anon.