I Went To The ER Without Health Insurance! – Experiencing a Thai Hospital

Cristina Uncategorized 1 Comment

Last week we took a visit to a local hospital here in Chiang Mai. Why? I stupidly hit my head pretty hard while walking to the gym (Seriously?? Yeah… seriously.) and after two days of pretty intense headaches I decided it would be better to just get it checked out. I was so impressed by how efficient and affordable it was to visit a hospital here versus back home in the US.

I contacted both Sriphat Hospital (the public, “less expensive” hospital in the area) and Chiang Mai Ram Hospital (the fancy, private, “expensive” hospital in the area) to enquire about the cost of a CT Scan at each hospital. Fully expecting Sriphat to be far more affordable, I was shocked to find out that Sriphat would charge 15,000baht for the scan (about $456) plus the fee to see the doctor 1,000baht (about $30). Chiang Mai Ram would charge 6,600baht for the scan (about $200) plus the fee to see the doctor 1,000baht (about $30).

First of all, just the fact that I could simply call the hospital and ask how much I would be charged for a CT scan is pretty incredible to me – this is definitely not possible in the US!

So after a few days of debating whether or not to go, we walked the 15 minutes to Chiang Mai Ram Hospital.

At first glance this hospital lobby almost looks like the lobby of a nice hotel!

After entering, I was approached to “check in” and asked about my symptoms. After this, they immediately brought me to the 4th floor “Specialty Clinic”. Within minutes my passport was scanned and I was directed into a small waiting room to wait until I would be taken to get the CT scan.

After about 30 minutes of waiting I was taken down to the basement where the imaging machines are located.  Everything went smoothly and back up to the “Specialty Clinic” I went to wait to see the doctor and review the results of the scan. Unfortunately, due to a serious accident the doctor was held up in the Emergency Room. After about an hour of waiting, the doctor was available (I definitely expected a 2-3 hour wait!).  And exactly as I expected, there was nothing wrong at all!

After seeing the scans myself and chatting with the doctor, I was asked to wait a moment to be taken to the cashier.

About 5 minutes later we were taken down the hall to pay for the CT scan and the fee to see the doctor. We were in and out of the hospital in under 2 hours!

All in all, the total bill came out to be 7,641 baht – $231.61! Unbelievable! I can’t even see a doctor for a routine visit for $231 in the United States without insurance.

My experience at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital was absolutely fantastic but hopefully, we will never need to return! The staff even called me the following day to see how I was feeling. Needless to say, I was very impressed with the quality of care and service at this hospital.

AND the best part of this experience (well, you know, besides the whole not having a serious head injury part!) is that I purchased a travel insurance plan for the two of us for $50 before arriving in Thailand and within 7 days of the hospital visit I had been reimbursed in FULL for the hospital fees.  #LifeIsGood 😉

Comments 1

  1. OMG, this is one of example to see the money machine health system is in USA. About a month ago I went to emergency room in Countryside Hospital for just a little toe RX and our total payment out of health insurance was not less than $2,000.00. Thank God you are okay. Interesting to know not only the charged price, in a very good hospital, as well as about the travel health insurance. Fantastic. Thinking about retiring there LOL ?

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