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Choice over Bt30 NHSO fee

Payment of a Bt30 fee for treatment under the National Health Security Office may be made voluntary, reportedly to save the government's face after the requirement met a large outcry from beneficiaries.

The Bt30 charge was aimed at services outside normal hospital working hours and in large state hospitals under the NHSO scheme, such as those attached to medical schools and Army.

The NHSO policy board yesterday proposed the pay-if-you-want condition while compromising with many NHSO beneficiaries who complained the Bt30 collection was a burden.

Some said patients should not be asked about their healthcare rights everytime they go to hospital. They had to keep saying they belonged to the "gold card" scheme, which was seen as an indication that they could not afford to pay their medical bills.

For general treatment, NHSO beneficiaries do not have to pay the Bt30 fee, a panel source said.

Nimit Thian-udom, an NHSO board member, said the government should provide a contingency budget if the Bt30 becomes optional, as a study shows that Bt1.9 billion would be available if the fee was imposed on all 23 million |beneficiaries.


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