Re: “Unregulated private hospital pricing has jeopardised all Thai healthcare”, Have Your Say, January 14.
I want to add something to George Morgan’s brilliant letter. Recently Nordic newspapers wrote about insurance companies complaining of high prices and over-treatment at Thai hospitals. For minor injuries caused by stumbling and falling, the hospitals in question over-treated the patients by using advanced technology like MRI brain scanning and other expensive technologies. These private hospitals have turned as greedy as it’s possible to be and are ignoring the Hippocratic oath. My experience is that if you find yourself at an honest hospital, your insurer will accept the bills on the first call. When it comes the greedy hospitals, clearance from insurance companies takes days. And the big chain hospitals seems to be the worst, since they ask you to pay in advance of treatment – a sign you are at a hospital that insurance companies have problems with, perhaps because of overcharging. I once made the mistake of going to the skin department at a big hospital, only to be greeted by an over-polite ladyboy in a very feminine reception area and told they wanted Bt10,000 in advance for treatment paid by an insurance company. They wanted to take a biopsy of a wound on my back which would not heal. I left and later had it fixed with liquid nitrogen and ointment by a firm female doctor at a no-frills hospital for a price I perceived as normal. Another time, I went to the same chain hospital for a gastroscopy: they wanted Bt10,000 if I paid by myself and Bt20,000 if the insurance company was to pay. Greed and dishonesty go hand in hand. Is that what Thailand’s new business sector of medical tourism has turned to?