Hotel & Hospitals: a questioned partnership
The SHA+ and ASQ hotels where the travelers are required to stay, must all have contracts with a specific hospital, usually a private hospital. If a traveler staying at their hotel tests positive, the guest has no choice but to be hospitalized at that specific hospital for 7-10 days at their own cost – usually around 10.000 THB per day. In most cases, tourists are requested to pay upfront this amount and coordinate insurance claims by themselves later – holding the risk of not being compensated for their hospital expenses.
Sharing hotel room in close contact with a COVID patient also subjects you to quarantine 7-10 days as a high risk close contact person. This is usually not included in the insurance coverage so it would be completely at your own cost.
The PCR tests are performed by the hospital who has the exclusive rights to receive all the patients from the hotel they stay at. You must do two PCR tests on the first day and the fifth day of your traveling, and the authorities prefer that you test both times at the same hotel.
Positive Covid-19 test result: A web of rules to trap travelers!
Some travelers question, if the PCR tests follow same procedures as back in their home countries, since many find the positive result when arriving Thailand, when they just tested negative 48 hours ago before flight departure.
All travelers believe they are adequately insured because when they applied for the Thailand Pass, their health insurance was approved. But when the traveler arrives here, it some times turns out that although the Thai embassy or consulate had accepted their insurance policy, they are not covered anyway because of the fine print in the insurance policy. Sometimes, the insurance only covers if the patient has symptoms or is hospitalized in a hospital, not a ‘hospitel’. The Thai hospitals will keep the patient in quarantine regardless of symptoms and for the maximum days they can charge for, all solely depending on the opinion of the doctors’ team at the assigned hospital your hotel is associated with.
In other situations, it has turned out that the insurance only covers if the patient is admitted to a public hospital. But the patient has no right to refuse to be hospitalized at the private hospital or hospitel facility which has obtained an exclusive contract with their hotel. Also in this case, the traveler will have to pay the amount at around 100.000 THB themselves.
A resident Dane in Bangkok who has been part of a network to come to the rescue of these unfortunate travelers who were trapped in this web of rules says to ScandAsia, that frankly she has come to the sad conclusion that the safest thing to do is not to fly to Thailand on a Thailand Pass until this hotel-hospital alliance is broken or the insurance policies that the embassies accept follow standards that are in compliance with these hotel-hospital contracts.
For a while, she and her network was able to extract patients with residence in Thailand from the grip of the hospitals “who only follow the rules” and transfer them to self isolation in their homes or to public hospitals, but this loophole was recently plugged.
What is the advice for you?
There are so many special situations and describing them all is not possible here, Dane says. But she wants to add one piece of useful advice:
If you have had Covid in the past 2-3 months before your arrival to Thailand then you must remember to bring along with you PCR proof and preferably a medical recovery certificate stating your Covid history in detail with a doctor’s signature. This documentation may help you not to become yet another unfair victim of the medical care protocol. If you show this evidence and insist that your positive result is most likely because the test is picking up dead cells from your past infection, you may be able to avoid being detained.
What does Sonasia Holiday advise you?
From our point of view, the situation is so clear now, it is better to make it done from your side to make sure you've got covered under any circumstance. The local authorities can do anything under name of the common benefit for the local community. Hence, it is better check directly with the insurance company about the situation here and make sure the policy will not stand against you in any cases.
READ THE FINE PRINT CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU PAY.
We will keep updating about the situation on the ground and update this article if needed.
Hello, my name’s Jordan and I’m obsessed with travelling overland. Seeing how cultures change while travelling slowly captivates me; and doing so in an eco-friendly way, preserving the cultures and landscapes that so many travellers yearn to explore, has given me my travelling purpose.