Ricky Batten

COVID-19 and telehealth

How expats can access treatment remotely in Thailand

The Kingdom has come a long way in learning to live with the virus

If you were here in the early days of the pandemic, you’ll remember that virtually all positive COVID-19 cases had to be admitted into a hospital and hospitel, and field hospitals were even constructed to deal with the overflow of cases. The situation has flipped at the moment as face masks are voluntary, the borders are open, and certain positive cases (more on this below) can even access remote treatment via one of three telehealth apps. 

It's important to note that the apps were initially available to patients with universal health coverage and those entitled to welfare benefits, such as local authorities and government officials, and were later expanded to those insured under the Social Security Fund (SSF). This means that if you pay monthly social security contributions as an expat teacher in Thailand (Side note: Just check your payslips if you’re not sure) then you too will be eligible. 

So, without further ado, I’ll give you a rundown of these apps and how they work in today’s blog post. 

Testing positive for COVID-19 and assessing your symptoms

Do you remember the “traffic light” system that was used to segment patients based on their COVID-19 symptoms? It was green for mild, yellow for moderate, and red for severe. The eligibility criteria for the three telemedicine apps are likewise symptom-based and, at the time of writing, only patients in the green group and elderly patients with underlying medical conditions have been receiving telehealth services over the past month. 

Registering for the telehealth app and receiving treatment 

Three apps you can register for are ‘Mordee’, ‘Good Doctor Technology’, and ‘Clicknic’. You can expect to speak to a medical professional, receive a prescription for medicines*, and get follow-up consultation/treatment without any charge. Depending on where in the country you’re based and the category of patients you’re in, you’ll have to register for different apps, as per the following: 

Mordee: Green group patients who live anywhere in the country can use this app. More information is available via their LINE account (@mordeeapp). 

Good Doctor Technology: Green group patients who live in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathumthani, or Samutprakan can use this app. More information is available via their LINE account (@gdtt). 

Clicknic: Green group patients and elderly patients with underlying medical conditions who live anywhere in the country can use this app. More information is available via their LINE account (@clicknic). 

*Molnupiravir and Favipiravir pills will only be prescribed to you if your symptoms are more on the severe side of the spectrum.

Navigating the social security system and getting reimbursed

The National Health Security Office (NHSO) has been working with the Social Security Office (SSO) to reimburse eligible insured patients. This means that you’ll need to navigate the social security system in order to get reimbursed if you’ve used the aforementioned telehealth services. While doing so is by no means impossible, the system is known to be bureaucratic and paper-heavy, and not speaking Thai can be a major barrier. 

It’s no wonder that many expats who are eligible for social security benefits are unaware and/or don’t end up utilizing these benefits to their full potential, as they prefer to use their private health insurance plan instead (either one that was provided to them by their international school or one that they secured themselves). This affords them access to top-notch private hospitals, which bring a number of benefits like shorter wait times and more comfortable amenities, to name a few. 

Interested in securing health insurance?

I work for a leading, expat-focused health insurance brokerage in Thailand and routinely help expat teachers like yourself. If you have any questions about the private health insurance plan offered by your school or would like to learn more about how you can secure your own coverage, please contact me by emailing ajarn@pacificprime.co.th or contact my team at Pacific Prime Thailand.


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