Health Insurance Required by All Foreigners aged Over 50 Living in Thailand from July 2019. All foreigners who are aged over 50 and living in Thailand on a long-term O/A visa will be required to have private medical insurance. However, how the new guidelines will be enforced is something that is currently being discussed on all levels.
Health Insurance Required by All Foreigners aged Over 50 Living in Thailand – Facts?
The decision to impose the rules was approved by the cabinet in April with expats living in Thailand on the non-immigrant O-A Retirement Visa being required to have THB40,000 worth of outpatient cover and THB400,000 worth of inpatient cover. The move comes to us as little surprise to many with unpaid medical bills amounting to more than THB300 million since 2016.
Does this affect retirement visa extensions in Thailand?
No, this only effects applications made overseas for 0/A visa applications, they will require mandatory health insurance.
Can you still apply for a non-immigrant o visa in Thailand without the need for medical insurance?
Yes, at the moment there is no requirement for health cover for applications made in Thailand.
What are the new guidelines?
Mandatory health insurance has been made mandatory for foreigners aged 50 years and above seeking a long-term stay in Thailand. The insurance policy must offer up to Bt40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and up to Bt400,000 for inpatient treatment
“We will ask the Immigration Bureau, the Foreign Ministry and the Insurance Department for additional details and implementation guidelines next week,” Saowapa Jongkittipong, head of the Health Service Support Department’s International Health Division.
Any new applications or renewals from July will need to be supported by evidence that the applicant has sufficient health insurance. Khun Saowapa said that elderly long-term residents in Thailand were putting an increased strain on government resources with around 20% of foreign patients leaving the country without paying their medical bills.
In 2018, 3.42 million foreigners visited medical facilities in the Kingdom with 680,000 failings to pay their bills with 565,000 also failing to pay medical costs in 2017. Khun Saowapa was keen to talk to agencies to establish what health issues would be covered by mandatory health insurance. The ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs have been instructed to inform all foreigners of these new requirements.
The Public Health Ministry has urged visa applicants to purchase health insurance from one of the main Thai health insurance providers. However, with expat health insurance offering greater levels of cover, the ministry has instructed agencies to find ways of verifying insurance policies that have been taken out overseas. Currently, citizens of only 14 countries are required to take out health insurance when staying in the country for 5 years or more.
At the turn of the year, the Health Service Support Department decided to establish claim centres in the heavily populated expat centres in Chonburi, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Phang Nga and Surat Thai. This is designed to help state hospitals reclaim funds that are outstanding from foreigners. The simple fact that there is a requirement for these centres illustrates the problem further.
However, with the move coming shortly after the changes in the financial requirement for Retirement Visas some people have expressed concerns about whether they will now be able to afford to live in Thailand. With the strength of the Thai Baht meaning many expats have dwindling incomes, some now feel that the time is right to start looking elsewhere or even perhaps consider moving back to their ‘home’ countries.
If you would like more information about the retirement visas or indeed any other visa requirements, you can call us on: +66 (0)80 102 2328, +66 (0) 38 420 313 or +44 (0) 20 8133 8059, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively contact us via our website.