Hospitals warned not to bill for Covid-19 care

Hospitals warned not to bill for Covid-19 care

The government has warned private hospitals not to send medical bills to Covid-19 patients or their families, saying their medical expenses will be paid for by the government.

The warning, posted on the Thai Khu Fa (Government House) Facebook, follows complaints that Covid-19 patients at private hospitals are being required to pay for treatment and services.

In some cases medical expenses have topped 100,000 baht.

The government says private hospitals should keep records of medical treatment and services and send the bills to related agencies for reimbursement.

The Public Health Ministry's draft regulations on reimbursement have been initially approved by the cabinet and will take effect soon.

If the patients have health insurance, however, they are being encouraged to use their policies first.

Earlier, the Department of Health Service Support insisted the cost of Covid-19 treatment would be covered by the country's health security funds.

The Social Security Fund for workers in the private sector, the welfare fund for state officials and the "gold card" universal fund would wholly or partially cover the cost of Covid-19 treatment based on the fund to which the patients belong.

Meanwhile, people who are covered by the "gold card" scheme are eligible to receive treatment for Covid-19 free of charge effective on April 2, according to an announcement in the Royal Gazette.

The announcement was signed by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul as president of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which supervises the universal fund.

The Social Security Office has also published an announcement on regulations and reimbursement of medical fees and service charges for Covid-19 case approved by the medical committee on the SSO's board.

For out-patients, the SSO will pay for actual costs of lab tests and personal protective equipment (PPE) used by medical personnel, but no more than 3,000 baht per time.

The announcement also covers medical expenses for in-patients, including drug costs capped at 7,200 baht per case and hospital room charges capped at 2,500 baht per day.

According to the announcement, if the patients seek treatment at private hospitals, reimbursement will be made in line with the Public Health Ministry's regulations.

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