UP TO 37 per cent of Government Savings Bank (GSB) employees say they prefer the National Health Security Office (NHSO)’s universal healthcare coverage for their parents over the Bt60,000 health coverage offered by their employer.
A young woman, for instance, has been planning to quit the GSB after realising that the Bt60,000 coverage is far from enough to cover the medical care for her father who has been diagnosed with fourth-stage cancer. She said she will have to find a new job, as his treatment will then be fully covered by the universal healthcare scheme.
Covering about 48 million Thais, the NHSO-run scheme offers most types of treatments for free through government hospitals.
The bank’s medical scheme, meanwhile, provides a coverage of Bt60,000 per year for employees’ parents and it can be used in both state and private hospitals,
GSB assistant director Nujarin Sirijan admitted that up to 100 employees have found themselves going above the fixed ceiling for their parents’ treatment, adding that many also foresaw problems in the future if they stick with the scheme offered by the bank.
NHSO deputy secretary-general Jadej Thammatacharee said the bank had contacted his agency in 2015 asking if its employees’ parents could be covered under the universal healthcare scheme.
Normally, this scheme is for people who do not have access to social security or medical benefits offered by government agencies.
“So, we raised the issue with the Council of State,” Jadej said, adding that the council had said the GSB employees’ parents could switch to the NHSO scheme.
According to him, the Council of State has assured that switching to the medical-benefit scheme for GSB employee’s parents was permitted so long as the benefits offered are not lower than what is offered under the bank’s scheme.
So, he said, a public hearing was held on June 5 to discuss if the GSB should change the medical scheme for its employees’ parents.
However, of the 15,877 GSB employees present at the hearing, 63 per cent said “No”.
An informed source said the GSB board members also seriously debated the matter at the meeting.
“Most of the board members believe the employees’ parents should be allowed to switch, because if the workers find they cannot foot their parent’s medical costs, they will quit the bank, which will put their parents automatically under the universal healthcare scheme,” the source said.
The board also noted that the parents of the employees of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives are also entitled to the universal healthcare scheme.
Nucharin, however, said GSB plans to give its employees a one-off opportunity to choose a medical scheme for their parents.
“They won’t be able to change their mind later,” she said.