Thailand is a leader in healthcare among ASEAN countries and the health sector is expected to grow by about 8% per year over the next five years. Universal Healthcare, known as Universal Coverage (UC) was introduced in 2003 and now, over 99% of Thai citizens are insured through UC. The UC system has significantly decreased mortality rates and disease prevalence. While successful, the UC is not without flaws, as seen in the public hospital system. Public hospitals suffer from underfunding and overuse, leading to long wait times and overworked healthcare professionals. Additionally, while the Thai population is healthy overall, Thailand still struggles with a high number of smokers, HIV, tropical diseases, as well as Western diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Despite some of these challenges, Thailand will remain a leader in healthcare in the region. Thailand’s public medical infrastructure is robust, and multiple medical industries are driving the economy through continuous expansion. There is also a strong private healthcare sector, with many groups investing in private healthcare facilities, along with research and development. Government healthcare spending is close to 5% of its GDP, which meets the Organization for Co-operation and Development (OECD) standards. With continuous expansion and healthcare reform policies, both public and private healthcare sectors are expected to grow in Thailand.