Thailand’s journey on universal health coverage (UHC) is a long one. Many attempts were made to ensure health security for everyone in Thailand, but it is not until 2001 that they are realised. In that year, the Universal Coverage Scheme (UCS) joined the other two main public health insurance schemes – the Civil Servant Medical Benefit Scheme (CSMBS) for civil servants and their dependants and the Social Security Scheme (SSS) for private sector employees – and covers people who are not under the other two schemes. Since at that time 70% of Thai population are still uninsured, the UCS become the largest scheme in the country.
Being a middle-income countries, Thailand, especially the National Health Security Office (NHSO) which manages the UCS, have somewhat limited budget to procure and secure quality healthcare and services for people. However, it never lets the limited budget become a limitation. To date virtually 100% of Thai citizens are covered. Quality of life of people significantly improved both medically and financially. But There are still many to be done and the health insurance scheme managers are always striving for the better.
This documentary mini-series is a story and a system behind the success of UHC in Thailand, with the experience to be shared to fellows UHC manager around the world.
It can be said that everything started with a will – the will to find a way.
And Thailand is lucky enough to have a system for citizen identification in place which can be used to support the rolling out of UCS.
This enables Thai citizens to be able to use their identification (ID) card as the access card to healthcare.
And this is how the budget is managed to ensure the best quality care for every Thai Baht invested.
Finally, improvements can never happen without feedbacks through two-way communication.
Thailand has come so far from the starting point. However, UHC development is always a work-in-progress, which every country need to work on further, to ensure the best health outcomes possible for their citizens.
The Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP) would like to express sincere gratitude to the interviewees and resource persons from National Health Security Office (NHSO) and elsewhere for their major contribution in the production of this documentary mini-series. This documentary mini-series can never be made possible without support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation through the International Decision Support Initiative.