Social security snag: NHRC accuses sso of toothless rights infringement

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The Social Security Office (SSO) is being accused by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of infringing human rights, by enforcing a yearly cap of 900 baht (US$25) on dental treatment expenses. The complaint was instigated in January 2023 by an insured individual leading to an inspection by the NHRC. The individual pointed out that the 900 baht limit is lower than the coverage under the state official welfare and the universal health scheme known as a gold card.

Supatra Nacapew, an NHRC member, voiced concerns on Sunday, stating that the coverage limit does not cover certain treatments and is insufficient. In 2016, for annual check-ups and dental treatments, the Social Security Committee established a 900 baht coverage limit per insured person. This amount, however, is inadequate for mandatory dental treatments, leading to an increased number of patients with severe dental diseases, according to Supatra.

As per the National Health Service Act 2002, everyone has the basic right to equal access to public health services of the same standard. This law aligns with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as per the NHRC.

Supatra pointed out that the basic dental costs at most privately run clinics usually exceed 900 baht. Teeth scaling prices range from 900-1,800 baht (US$25-50), dental fillings 800-1,500 baht (US$22-42), tooth extraction 900-2,000 baht (US$25-56) and impacted tooth removal 2,500-4,500 baht (US$70-126). The expenses that are eligible for reimbursement do not cover a variety of medical services, including medical equipment for dental services, medication, and X-rays, whereas these costs are covered under state official welfare and the gold card scheme, reported Bangkok Post.

In a meeting on human rights protection held on January 30, Supatra mentioned that there was an agreement that the security fund committee and the medical committee should revise the regulation to adjust the dental claims ceiling. The meeting also encouraged the committee and the National Health Security office to enable the insured to join the gold card system under the National Health Security Act.

In related news, the One ID Card, Universal Healthcare initiative in Thailand expanded to Phrae, Phetchaburi, Roi Et, and Narathiwat provinces, offering citizens access to healthcare services across diverse networks.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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