(Bangkok Post 11th Jan 2012) Businesses baulk over migrant accident victims’ health costs

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> http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/274582/businesses-baulk-over-migrants-health-cover
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> EMPLOYMENT
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> Businesses baulk over migrants’health cover
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> Published: 11/01/2012
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> Employers are calling on the Labour Ministry to scrap a requirement that they pay the medical bills of insured foreign workers in advance and then claim the money back at a later date.
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> They say the payments are adding to the financial burdens on their businesses.
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> Somsuk Khongkhachen, secretary of the Samut Sakhon Industrial Council, said many employers were ready to comply with a cabinet resolution requiring them to buy 500-baht medical insurance for each foreign worker they employ.
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> Under the resolution, businesses are required to take out medical insurance with Dhipaya Insurance Co, a firm chosen by the ministry.
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> However, there is a condition regarding payments and reimbursements for medical costs, Mrs Somsuk said.
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> Employers are required by the Labour Ministry to pay for the medical costs in advance and later submit the bills to the Social Security Office’s Workmen’s Compensation Fund to obtain reimbursements within 90 days, she said.
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> Several employers have complained reimbursement takes too long.
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> Mrs Somsuk urged the ministry to review the requirement and come up with a solution to ease the financial burden on employers, particularly those who hire many foreign workers.
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> She said many employers are also confused about the medical insurance as they were told that foreign workers would not be covered by the policy if they changed their jobs.
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> To hire new workers, employers must take out the medical insurance policy for them.
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> However, it lasts only one year, starting from the annual registration of the worker, she said.
&g t;
> She criticised the Labour Ministry and the Social Security Office for not doing enough to help foreign workers receive employment welfare benefits.
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> If the government wanted to improve the quality of life of those working legally in the country, it should make a serious effort to address their problems, she said.
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> The cabinet made it a requirement for employers to buy insurance coverage for their foreign workers in June last year, following a rise in the number of work-related injuries.
> Andy Hall
> Twitter @atomicalandy
> +66 (0)846 119209

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