Ailing system fails to deliver
People insured under the SSO scheme say they want better health care

Published: 18/09/2010 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News

The state-funded social security system is poised to expand medical coverage for members, in the latest shake-up in the scheme's 20-year history.

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Many members, however, want it to improve existing services before it embarks on any more changes.

While the Social Security Office (SSO) is planning to increase the range of benefits offered to employees and employers under the scheme, members continue to complain about the poor quality of medical services currently provided.

The scheme requires employees and employers to make a 5% contribution of their earnings, up to 15,000 baht.

Unlike the state-funded 30-baht universal healthcare scheme, this mandatory programme gives the insured access to both state and selected private hospitals.

But many members tell the Bangkok Post that services offered under the scheme are far from satisfactory.

"I received second-class treatment," said Anchalee Updul, who has now opted out of the scheme for a private package.

Other members complain of receiving basic medicines such as paracetamol for a wide range of illnesses.

Some doctors barely seem interested in their problems.

Many making an emergency visit to hospital have been turned away because they are not registered with that hospital.

Continuing treatment of chronic diseases is usually denied.