Health insurance and private providers: A study of the civil servants' medical benefit scheme in bangkok, Thailand

Sara Bennett, Viroj Tangcharoensathien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Compulsory health insurance schemes have received attention recently as a means of creating a reliable extra‐budgetary source of health care funding. Yet, the full implications of such schemes in a developing country context are unclear; in particular, the impact on and relationship with private sector providers has infrequently been explored. This study examines patterns of public and private sector utilization under the Civil Servants' Medical Benefit Scheme (CSMBS) in Bangkok, Thailand. The CSMBS currently provides limited reimbursement for private inpatient care, but recent proposals suggest increasing benefit levels for care sought in the private sector. The study shows that despite high level of cost recovery in the public sector, charges were much lower than those in the private sector. Different patterns of diagnosis in the two sectors were found with private hospitals tending to treat a less complex case mix. Within the private sector, there was a limited tendency to specialize in certain types of care. It is concluded that under the current payment mechanism of fee‐for‐service reimbursement, measures to enhance access to private sector care should be approached with caution. In the long run, the scheme should merge with the recently established social security scheme.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalThe International Journal of Health Planning and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Health insurance: Payment mechanism
  • Private sector
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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