Private health cover plan for state officials shelved

Private health cover plan for state officials shelved

The Finance Ministry has put on hold a plan for insurance firms to take over the government's role in providing health insurance cover for 5 million state officials and their families.

Somchai Sujjapongse, permanent secretary for finance, said on Monday the idea was halted because of opposition from government officials and medical personnel.

Officials would study further whether insurance firms or the Comptroller General’s Department could best ensure more efficient spending of the government budget for health insurance for state officials and their families.

Pending the study, the current system would remain in place. The department would issue directives to ensure more efficient use of the money, Mr Somchai said. 

This would include requiring doctors who had no direct expertise in the treatment of particular patients to provide written reasons for the prescriptions they issue, for future examination.

The department would also require hospitals to give reasons for the prescription of medicines outside the government’s main medicine list, and to identify the doctors who wrote the prescription.

It was earlier reported  that the names of dead government officials were used to claim treatment costs. Government officials in one province sought medication in other provinces. Some officials sought outpatient treatment daily. The medication obtained was reported to have often been sold.

The government currently pays out about 68 billion baht a year for an average 20 million healthcare claims filed by state officials and their families. It is seeking a way to cap healthcare spending, which has risen by 2 billion baht a year on average.

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