The Cabinet has approved a budget of 209 billion baht for the government’s universal health care coverage program for the 2023 fiscal year.
The Universal Coverage Scheme, also known as the gold card scheme, is the largest of the three Thai healthcare programs that provide universal health care to the country’s citizens.
It covers the majority of the population and is directly funded by the national budget and allocated on a mixed per-capita basis by the National Health Security Office (NHSO).
Deputy Government Spokesperson Trisulee Trisaranakul explained that the budget marks an increase of 4.12% from the previous fiscal year, as inflation affects operation costs and added services.
She also noted that the new functions were part of the national health security policy of the Ministry of Public Health and plans to reform the operations of emergency rooms. Additionally, the provision includes a 1.95 billion baht budget for the National Health Security Office (NHSO) – a significant increase of 51.82% from 665 million baht for fiscal 2022.
Thailand’s universal health care scheme provides numerous medical services to eligible recipients at affordable rates. It is the largest Thai health care program providing coverage to the majority of the nation’s citizens, directly funded by the national budget and allocated on a mixed per-capita basis by the NHSO.
Thailand’s Public Health Minister says holders of the universal healthcare card can seek treatment at primary care units anywhere in the country. According to a Bangkok Post report, Anutin Charnvirakul says cardholders will no longer have to request a referral from the unit they’re registered at. He says the change is part of reforms to the universal health care service and the 30 baht card.
The newly added services are mainly related to COVID-19, such as expenses for RT-PCR tests, antigen test kits (ATKs) and COVID vaccination services. The scheme also covers damages from severe vaccination side effects, as well as damages suffered by those who provide medical assistance to COVID-19 patients.
These changes were made with the understanding that COVID-19 will soon become endemic.
Those interested can contact the NHSO hotline 1330 for more information about the universal health coverage program around the clock.