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Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) submitting complaint to public health authorities concerning Vachira Phuket Hospital’s refusing to sell health insurance to child dependent of migrant labors.

(File Photo. Source: Prasiddhi Grudharochana)

Concerning Vachira Phuket Hospital’s refusing to sell health insurance to child dependent of migrant labors

On 11 March 2021, the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) has submitted a complaint to the Phuket Provincial Public Health Doctor, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, Governor of Phuket, Minister of Public Health and Minister of Interior regarding the buying of health insurance for child dependent by their parents who are migrant labors since the migrant labors have been prevented from buying such health insurance for their child born in Phuket. 

This intervention has involved HRDF accompanying the migrant labors and their child to the Health Checkup and Health Insurance Service Center for Alien Workers, at Vachira Phuket Hospital in Ko Sire to buy the child a health insurance card. But the officer there has refused to sell such insurance saying that a child born of a parent who is a migrant labor is only eligible to buy health insurance card when the child’s mother has already had a health insurance of herself. Even though the father may have a health insurance card or a social security card, but if the mother had no such card, the child is not allowed to buy a health insurance card.

HRDF finds that the refusal to sell health insurance card to the child dependent does not comply with the guidelines concerning health insurance of aliens and alien labors, issued by the Ministry of Public Health in 2020. Its Annex 3 on health checkup and health insurance measures of alien labors clearly states that officers are obliged to conduct health checkup and offer health insurance to the dependents at the same medical facility where their parents are insured or at a public facility in the area where either of the parents live or in the area where they are employed according to the notifications.

Meanwhile, descendants of alien labors born in the Kingdom shall be entitled to the right to live in the Kingdom similar to their parents according to the Ministerial Regulation to determine the status and condition for living in the Kingdom of those born in the Kingdom but are non-Thai B.E. 2560. These children shall be treated as beneficiaries for medical and public health services according to the health checkup and health insurance for alien labors, the Ministry of Public Health, 2020 and according to the concerned notifications of the Ministry of Public Health.  

Therefore, to ensure the child dependents of migrant labors access to health insurance which shall help to enhance the protection of the rights of the child and society and uphold the best interest of the child according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Thailand is a state party since 1992, HRDF calls on concerned public health authorities to rescind any obstructing criteria and to allow all children who are dependents of migrant labors to buy health insurance. They could invoke their right through the connection with either of their parents who has health insurance or social security. In a similar vein, a child is already allowed to have access to social security benefits through the connection with either of their parents who is an insured person. All medical facilities should be advised to act accordingly as well.

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