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A Case of Insurance Fraud? Man From Thailand Actively Seeks COVID-Infected Date

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 19, 2023

A Case of Insurance Fraud? Man From Thailand Actively Seeks COVID-Infected Date

While most people are trying hard to dodge COVID-19, a man in Thailand went viral when he actively looked for an infected companion. It seems like the man wanted to catch the virus to claim money from his COVID insurance. 

An Odd Request¹

On January 11, a screenshot shared on Facebook raised many eyebrows. The post contained an odd request in a Line messaging group. The message said a client is looking for an infected companion to start working at 10 pm. Payment would be 3,000 to 5,000 Baht, which is around 4,600 PHP to 7,800 PHP. 

By companion, the client meant a woman who could accompany him for “entertainment purposes,” in a party with alcohol and drugs, but no sex. The catch was, the female companion must be COVID-positive and was required to show an antigen test result with 2 lines, indicating a present infection. 

The client also stated that he had no desire to share bodily fluids with the woman; he just wanted to breathe on one another. 

The Motive

The peculiar request, of course, caught the attention of many Facebook users. Why would anyone want to spend time with a COVID-positive stranger for entertainment purposes? Why was he willing to pay for it? The client even offered to reward 600 Baht (935 PHP) commission to anyone who would act as a broker. 

Just when people thought it was due to a strange kink, Thai media and insurance officials revealed it might be due to COVID insurance. They believe the man wanted to claim money from the COVID insurance he took. 

COVID Insurance in Thailand

Many insurance companies in Thailand cover COVID-19 infection, with payouts reaching 20,000 Baht or approximately 31,000 PHP. Reports say claims skyrocketed between the start of the pandemic to mid-2021, forcing other companies to stop covering COVID infections. 

Officials already identified the man behind the peculiar post and determined that he did take a COVID insurance plan.

Authorities say deliberately getting the infection would count as insurance fraud and criminal offense which is punishable by law. If found guilty, he might face up to 3 years of imprisonment, 30,000 Baht fine (46,700 PHP), or both. 

COVID Insurance in the Philippines

Since the start of the pandemic, several insurance companies in the Philippines also offered plans that cover COVID-19 infection. Some offer free COVID protection for their new plans, others offer it as an add-on. Below are some of the companies that give you protection from COVID-19:

  • Malayan Insurance – Their Travel Master Policy now comes with Coronavirus Disease Emergency Treatment Coverage for cashless hospitalization². 
  • Singlife – Singlife, which is accessible through GCash, offers free COVID protection with their other insurance plan (Cash for Dengue Cost)³. 
  • FWD – In partnership with Pacific Cross Insurance, FWD covers in-patient treatment of COVID-19 infections as well as complications from COVID-19 vaccinations⁴. 
  • Of course, PhilHealth also offers a Benefits Package for people who contract COVID infection in need of isolation⁵. This package is different from the one PhilHealth offers when a member gets hospitalized due to COVID-19. 

    Insurance Fraud in The Philippines

    While the potential insurance fraud case in Thailand is peculiar, the Philippines is no stranger to other fraudulent cases. 

    In fact, PhilHealth continues to probe “upcasing” incidences. Upcasing happens when a mild case is maliciously turned into pneumonia or COVID to get bigger benefits. There are also “ghost claims” where people make it seem like they got hospitalized when medical records say otherwise. 

    These fraudulent claims are punishable by law. 

    Key Takeaways

    A man from Thailand is under investigation after he actively sought a COVID-positive companion. Officials believe he wanted to catch the infection to claim money from his COVID insurance. When proven guilty, he might face imprisonment, a fine, or both. 
    In the Philippines, COVID insurance plans are available, but not as extensive. Fraudulent claims, especially in PhilHealth, also happen and are under watch.

     

    Learn more about Coronavirus here

    Disclaimer

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD

    Pediatrics


    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 19, 2023

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