Health insurance extended

Health insurance extended

Scheme to cover people up to age 65

In a move to help the government cope with Thailand's ageing society, the cabinet on Tuesday approved a proposal to let freelance workers up to 65 years of age register under the social security system.

This decision will benefit the 4.36 million self-employed people aged 60 to 65 who are still working, deputy government spokeswoman Ratchada Dhanadirek said after Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

Many of these people work as vendors, motorcycle taxi drivers and farmers, she added.

Previously, the age limit was 60 for registering under the social security system's self-insurance option, referred to as "insured party under Section 40 of the Social Security Act", she said.

The minimum age for this scheme is still 15, she said.

Those interested in this social security programme will have three monthly contribution rates to choose from -- 70 baht, 100 baht or 300 baht -- which the government will match with contributions of 30 baht, 50 baht or 150 baht respectively.

One of the core benefits of this social-security scheme, she said, is that in cases of severe illness, an insured worker will be provided with financial compensation of 300 baht per day for up to 30 days per year.

Other benefits include financial compensation in case of physical disability and financial aid and allowances to cover funeral expenses in case of death, she said.

The cabinet also approved the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency's proposal to offer 2.15 billion baht in low-interest loans to Laos and Myanmar.

Ms Ratchada said Laos will be given 1.38 billion baht for the construction of a bridge from Thailand's Bung Kan province to Bolikhamsai in Laos under a 30-year loan with an interest rate of 1.5% and a grace period of 10 years. She said the project is linked with Road No.8 to the East-West Economic Corridor from Myanmar via Thailand and Laos to Vietnam.

"This project will help boost border trade at the checkpoint in Bung Kan province, which accounted for 4 billion baht in revenue last year," she said.

Myanmar will get a 30-year loan of 777 million baht at a 1.5% interest rate, with a 10-year grace period.

She said the cabinet approved this loan to fund the third phase of the Greater Mekong Subregion development project for Myawaddy town, which plays an key role in border trade.

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