Cost of Medical Treatment in Bangkok
The most important incentive to choose medical treatment far away from home (and family and friends) is its lower cost, provided medical and surgical treatments are adequate. Other considerations are the overall attractiveness of the selected foreign country (stage of development, tourist attractions, distance).
The cost of treatment in Thailand is lower than in in the United States or Europe. Of course, not every condition is suitable for treatment abroad. Mostly people will consider medical tourism for elective procedures. Need we remind you that it is not advised to travel long distance by plane if your medical condition is not stable. The elected procedure itself is what will determine the cost. It will cost less than in your home country. Especially room rates and nursing services are cheaper (including stay in intensive care or coronary care units). Staying in a comfortable hospital room in one of the major hospitals in Bangkok will actually cost about the same as staying at a 5-star hotel.
That said, medical costs in Thailand are rising, as they are in most parts of the world. An interesting development at the end of 2018, beginning 2019, is increased attention in the media for the cost of medical treatment at private hospitals. Two recent plans by government authorities :
1) Price controls of medications, medical supplies and certain procedures, are likely to be implemented, though there is important resistance from hospital organizations.
2) It is likely that hospitals will be obliged to provide pricing information regarding their services on their websites and /or at hospital locations. Personally, we noticed that pricing information nowadays is less likely to be found on hospital websites, than 5 years ago (with exception of health screening packages).
In the long run, hospitals involved in medical tourism need to make sufficient money to be able to attract good quality personnel, and often the most up-to-date equipment (making it also likely that this equipment will be used often). This will attract more foreign clientele. Then again, if prices of procedures keep rising, Thailand's hospitals may slowly loose their competititve advantage. It is a balancing act.
Dental Hospital on Sukhumvit Road, Soi 49. See price list for treatment at Bangkok Dental Hospital
There are other choices than Thailand when considering treatment in Asia. India is actively developing its medical tourism and Singapore was a destination for treatment before Bangkok put itself on the map. Below prices are compared for some major (and minor) procedures between USA, India, Thailand and Singapore. We summarize the data below.
India seems to offer the cheapest services, while Singapore is more expensive than Thailand. When choosing between India and Thailand, well for us, that would be a no-brainer in favor of the latter. Singapore obviously is one of the richest countries in the world, and possible this may entice some people that it offers also more reliable medical services.
|Procedure :||United States||India||Thailand||Singapore|
|Coronary Angioplasty||28,200 $||5,700 $||4,200 $||13,400 $|
|Heart Bypass||123,000 $||7,900 $||15,000 $||17,200 $|
|Hip Replacement||40,364 $||7,200 $||17,000 $||13,900 $|
|Gastric Bypass||25,000 $||7,000 $||16,800 $||13,700 $|
|Hysterectomy||15,400 $||3,200 $||3,650 $||10,400 $|
|Lasik (2 eyes)||4,000 $||1,000 $||2,310 $||
|Dental Implant||2,500 $||900 $||1,720 $||2,700 $|
|Breast Implant||6,400 $||3,000 $||3,500 $||8,400 $|
[Source : medicaltourism.com (2019) ; prices as suggested by this medical tourism site and should be considered approximate] Obviously procedures like Lasik, dental implants, and other implants, may use different materials and/or techniques. In Thailand, for example we know the price of dental implants at different hospitals, and the price quoted above is clearly below the prices we noticed ourselves. So these data should we used with caution.
Note : It is quite difficult to find updated costs of medical procedures, comparing between different medical tourism destinations. The above prices are only indicative. We noticed that they have not changed on medicaltourism.com since at least 2015 . In general, it may also be assumed that medical tourism organizations may tend to suggest lower costs in destinations countries than in reality exist.
Personal experience and/or as related from friends :
Arthroscopic Surgery of one knee cost us about 2,500 US $ a few years ago (including one-day stay at hospital). Long-term stay in a VIP suite in Bumrungrad Hospital (VIP suite consists of a bedroom and a sitting room, total area about 70 square meter) at internal medicine department, costs around 15,000 baht per day (about 400 US $). This included room rate (you can deduct a few thousand baht, if you select the actually very adequate standard room), food, doctors fee, medication. Indeed, the most striking feature of costs in Thailand, are the really low room costs. They are often much lower than in 5-star hotels.
Outpatient services : Doctor's fees are variable, depending on the medical specialism, and at the more fancy hospitals vary between about 800 baht and 1,500 baht. However, you do get additional charges for using the nursing services and facilities, which may add an additional 300 to 600 baht to the overall costs.
Costs are actually about 30-40% lower, if you elect to go to one of the lesser known hospitals (like Bangkok Christian Hospital).
Please be reminded that medication provided at the upmarket hospitals is much more expensive, compared to what you pay at out-of-hospital pharmacies.
The best deal and a hospital for check-up (for eyes only!) that we recommend, can be found at Rutnin Eye Hospital . We have often visited there, and you get a thorough eye examination, and extensive measuring of visual acuity, all for around 1,000-1,500 baht.
While we do not want you to 'believe' the above mentioned costs just like that (please recheck with any hospital you consider, or with your medical tourism agent), they do hopefully give an indication of the price difference between treatment at US facilities and in Asia. Prices quoted may increase if complications arise, or with prolonged recovery stage.
Add-on : Cost at public hospitals in Thailand
Only recently we became aware of an official list of prices for treatments and diagnostic tests at public hospitals in Thailand. We invite you to check it out. Interestingly there are different prices for Thai citizens and foreigners (including tourists). On the other hand, even when paying double what Thai people pay, the prices seem still considerably lower than at private hospitals, catering to international visitors.