A foreign tourist gets her temperature checked by military police officers at Ao Manao in Prachuap Khiri Khan province on March 19, 2020.
A foreign tourist gets her temperature checked by military police officers at Ao Manao in Prachuap Khiri Khan province on March 19, 2020.

BANGKOK — The government on Saturday banned private hospitals from charging coronavirus patients for their treatments.

In a post shared by its official Facebook page, the government said the medical expenses of COVID-19 patients will be covered by the state. Private hospitals are told to keep records of the cost they can be reimbursed by related agencies, though regulations governing the reimbursement processes have yet to come into effect.

“Private hospitals are asked to provide treatment to the best of their abilities and not to use expenses as a condition,” the post wrote. “They are not allowed to charge the patients or their families. If they have been charged, they can file a complaint at the Department of Health Service Support or provincial health offices.”

The Department of Health Service Support has said earlier that the cost of coronavirus treatment will be paid by one of the country’s healthcare funds.

However, department’s chief Tares Krassanairawiwong said Thursday the ministerial regulation on reimbursement for private hospitals will take effect in near future, so the hospitals must wait in the meantime.

“Private hospitals are asked to keep records of the cost related to the treatment to file reimbursement claims after the announcement of the regulation,” he said. “It has been approved by the Cabinet and will take effect soon.”

Patients who have their own health or life insurances are encouraged to use their policies in a meantime, Tares added.

The Department of Health Service Support also said the bills for foreigners treated for the coronavirus infection will be covered by their own health insurance policies.

Although the Comptroller General’s Department said it has approved funding for the state to cover all foreigners’ medical expenses, regardless of their insurance situation, government officials never explained what happened to the money.

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