As of May 14th, 2019, the Thai cabinet has approved legislation which will require mandatory health insurance for Thailand’s Long Stay Non-Immigrant Visa OA or simply the Thailand Retirement Visa.
As we reported back in December, The Medical Hub Committee had approved to amend the criterion necessary for foreigners to be granted their Long Stay visa. Spearheaded by the Public Health Minister and the Tourism and Sport Vice Minister, this initiative still had to be refined and approved by a joint council of the Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry, Public Health Ministry, the Office of Insurance Commission, the Immigration Bureau, the Thai Life Assurance Association, and the Thai General Insurance Association.
The Latest Development:
Dr. Natthawut Prasertsiripong, Director General of the Ministry of Public Health has announced that on April 8th, 2019 the amendment to require insurance for the Long Stay Visa (Thailand Retirement Visa – Non Immigrant Visa OA) was approved by the joint council of the ministries mentioned above. He goes on to explain that this initiative was a joint venture between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Immigration Bureau, and the Ministry of Public Health aimed at reducing the costs to the Thai government in the form of health insurance debt incurred by foreigners—all while generating funds for Thailand’s public and private hospitals.
Dr. Nutthawat stated that, “The government has found that foreigners who are in their elder years staying on this type of visa have more health issues than other foreigners staying on other types of visas. . . . More than that, this is to protect the Ministry of Public Health, which is forced to pay for medical care for foreigners who do not have the funds to pay for their hospital bills.”
What We Know of the Requirements:
The new insurance requirements for the Long Stay Visa in Thailand are still under development, though what is known seems to be concrete seeing as how the legislation has been passed:
- These new insurance requirements apply to foreigners aged 50 or older
- The insurance coverage must provide 40,000 THB for outpatient treatment during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand
- The insurance coverage must provide 400,000 THB for inpatient treatment during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand
- The insurance requirement applies to people applying for a Long Stay visa for the first time, as well as people seeking to renew their Long Stay visa
- If you have insurance from an insurance agent overseas, that policy will be honored as long as it has enough coverage to cover the amount stated in the requirements above.
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What We Don’t Know of the Requirements:
Dr. Nutthawut stated that several factors had not been fully developed, and efforts would be made to do so by the joint committee as soon as possible. Special considerations and dispensations would have to be made in several cases. These unclear factors are:
- It is unknown when the new measures will be enforced
- It is unknown the exact process that will take place for how to check the amount of coverage of your insurance policy (if you should already have one from a foreign provider)
- It is unknown what special considerations will have to be made for foreigners whose health risks are too grave to be granted coverage by private insurance companies
- For these individuals who have seriously grave illnesses which are too costly for private insurance coverage, several options are being put forth, including “requiring them to have higher deposits in bank accounts so as to make sure that they have enough to live on during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand.”
It seems that the new medical insurance requirements for Thailand’s Long Stay visa have been approved and will soon be in place—though we do not know how soon. Still, it is better to be prepared than to have problems—and face deportation—when applying for your Long Stay visa or seeking to renew your Long Stay visa. If you would like to explore expat health insurance options, WeExpats can help. Simply, click on the free quote below. It only takes a minute.
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