A Guide to Thailand’s Mandatory Health Insurance Rules for Retirees (2024)

If you want to retire in Thailand with the right visa, you must have health insurance. 

Compulsory health insurance is needed to qualify for both the one-year retirement visa (non-immigrant O-A visa) and the 10-year retirement visa (non-immigrant O-X visa).

In this guide, we’ll take a close look at what kind of health insurance you need, the available plans, and how to fulfill the requirements. 

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What is Compulsory Health Insurance?

If you apply for a Thailand retirement visa – either non-immigrant O-A visa or a non-immigrant O-X visa – from Thai embassies or consulates overseas, you need to have health insurance. This is one of the main stipulations alongside age and financial requirements to get a retirement visa in Thailand. 

Your health insurance plan can come from either an insurance company in Thailand or one outside of the country.

However, if you apply for a retirement visa from within Thailand, you most likely won’t need health insurance. This is because when you apply for a retirement visa from within Thailand, it’s called as an extension of stay based on retirement which is not a non-immigrant O-A visa.

This requirement is only if you apply from outside of Thailand. 

Requirements and Coverage

To qualify for the health insurance requirement, you must have a plan that covers you:

  • US$100,000 or THB3,000,000 for both general care and COVID 19
  • For the entire of your stay in Thailand. For example, if your retirement visa lets you live in Thailand for one year, then you need to get a one-year health insurance plan.

However, not all Thai embassies and consulates adhere to this rule. 

We’ve asked insurance brokers and retirees in Thailand who have non-immigrant O-A visas or non-immigrant O-X visas. They all said that their health insurance requirement was still THB400,000 for IPD and THB40,000 for OPD, which was the old requirements.

Before you buy health insurance, contact the embassy that you’re planning to apply for your Thai visa at and ask for the exact requirements. 

**Please note that on May 28, 2024, a new regulation was issued stating that insurance coverage will only be THB 440,000 during September 2024 to December 2024.

Health Insurance Options

You can get health insurance from any insurance company as long as it meets coverage requirements. 

Your health insurance policy should also clearly state the amount of the IPD and OPD coverage you get to avoid mishaps with immigration officers.

If you buy a plan from an international insurance company, you may also need to ask your insurance company to give you a foreign insurance certificate.

Related article: Health Insurance in Thailand: What You Need to Know as an Expat.

Expat Health Insurance

One of the main benefits of having expat health insurance provided by an international insurance company is that coverage limits tend to be much higher than what you get with local plans. They also cover your health expenses, both inside and outside of Thailand, depending on your chosen areas of coverage. 

Also, international health insurance companies have to follow the insurance regulations of the country in which they operate, which are usually stricter than those in Thailand. This means they are unlikely to discontinue your plan or increase premiums if you make an expensive claim. 

The main disadvantage of expat health insurance is price. It can be expensive, especially when you’re 60 years old or above. Your options are even more limited if you’re more than 70 years old. 

That said, if you want to check out some expat health insurance, one good option is Cigna. They recently released a senior plan, which is basically an insurance plan for those aged 60 years old and above. 

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The best thing about this plan is that it doesn’t have any age limits. You also get full coverage on cancer and get an annual limit of US$1,000,000. 

The plan is becoming more popular for retirees in Thailand

Local Health Insurance Specifically for Non-OA Visa

Local health insurance is much easier to get. It’s cheaper, and local companies know the requirements well. 

In fact, many local insurance companies have plans specifically for expats applying for a retirement visa (Non-OA). 

For example, Luma has a plan called Long Stay Care, which is tailored to retirees who are younger than 80 years old and need a health insurance plan that meets the visa requirements.

In addition to Luma, Navakij, Dhipaya, Axa, and Allianz also provide similar plans. 

The main disadvantage of these local plans are the deductibles, which can be higher than THB200,000. The coverage limit is also much lower than what you’d get with expat health insurance. 

So, it’s an affordable option for those who need health insurance just to fulfill the visa requirements. But the coverage might not be enough to visit a hospital in Thailand. 

How Much Do I Have to Pay?

In case you buy a plan from local companies that operate just to satisfy visa requirements, it should cost you less than THB10,000 a year. 

Note, though, that these plans come with deductibles of over THB200,000. You would need to pay the deductible first before the insurance company covers you. 

On the other hand, for normal health insurance plans, premiums depend on your age, pre-existing conditions, coverage amounts, and coverage areas. You could end up paying more than THB100,000 for health insurance since health insurance for those who are older than 50 tends to be expensive.

What if I Can’t Buy Health Insurance?

The Thai government is changing the financial requirements for retirement visas and will soon update everyone. 

But if you can’t buy health insurance for whatever reason, you have two alternatives.

The first one is to look into other visa options instead, such as the Thai Privilege Card

The second option is to come to Thailand on a tourist visa and then apply for an extension of stay based on retirement. It’s basically a retirement visa, but immigration officers in Thailand won’t ask for health insurance requirements. 

However, it’s more complicated than applying for a retirement visa from outside of Thailand. Also, it’s a challenge to fulfill the financial requirements because it’s getting more difficult to open a bank account in Thailand with a tourist visa. 

Do I Need to Keep Paying for Health Insurance?

In fact, the health insurance requirement mainly applies to those applying for a retirement visa (Non O-A) from outside Thailand.

Once you are inside Thailand and wish to renew your visa, you will apply for an “extension of stay based on retirement” instead. As of February 2024, it does not require any proof of health insurance.

Does this Rule Affect Other Visa Types?

As of now, if you hold a non-immigrant B visa, non-immigrant EDU visa, or non-immigrant O visa for marriage, you don’t need health insurance.

However, it’s possible that that same rule will apply to other types of long-term visas in the future. Coverage amounts, though, might be different.

This is because health insurance requirements for getting a visa in Thailand are becoming more common. 

For example, you now need to have health insurance if you want to get a LTR visa in Thailand

What If I Don’t Want to Buy Insurance?

If you do not want to buy health insurance, another way is to apply for a non-immigrant O visa instead of a non-immigrant OA.

But you still need to have proof of financial means with THB 800,000 in your bank account. Read our guide to retirement visas in Thailand to find out more.

Now, on to You

You now need to have health insurance if you want to retire in Thailand. But regardless of the law, it’s still a good idea to get health insurance while in the country. 

That said, if you want a comprehensive health insurance plan, check out Cigna Global. If you need health insurance just to qualify for the retirement visa, check out Luma Long Stay Care.

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Saran Lhawpongwad is a Bangkokian by birth. He loves to share what he learns based on his insights living and running business in Thailand. While not at his desk, he likes to be outdoors exploring the world with his family. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

42 thoughts on “A Guide to Thailand’s Mandatory Health Insurance Rules for Retirees (2024)”

  1. If this helps anyone it’s worthwhile. Married couple, M64 F60, planned to be living in Thailand for one year. Allowed ourselves 6 weeks to source Insurance and another 4 to secure a retirement visa in the U.K. Comfortably meeting the criteria. What happened next I never saw coming. Used a Bangkok broker, who came recommended. Researched the cover we wanted. A Pacific Cross Maxima plan. Good cover, reasonable price. Wife no problem, I am a gym bunny, declared a low dose statin, I actually asked for it 3 months previously due to family history. Not a pre- condition. A number of exclusions however, made my cover fairly worthless. Broker happily encouraged me to sign up for it. 8 weeks on this farce is still ongoing. It was a ridiculously Slow, laborious and frustrating process. Tried Luma, approached them direct, more expensive. Far more businesslike but similar exclusions, although Luma’s underwriter did invite me to challenge and evidence their exclusions. Which I did, and thoroughly. Result- Catch 22. Evidence ignored, the offer was returned with an additional exclusion added. Make sense of that if you will?
    Don’t ever expect an explanation why! If you are over 60 be aware that most Thai insurers will underwrite and exclude just about everything you declare. Finally Cigna, who happily covered me without exclusion. Expensive, but good cover. Cigna’s agents and underwriters are prompt, professional and impressive. Done + Dusted in 48 hours flat. Give yourself plenty of time, source a competent broker, never give up and go live your dream everyone.

    Reply
  2. Khun Saran, I’m a little confused. Above you stated “The easiest way to get health insurance in Thailand is Luma Long Stay Care plan. The plan is specifically tailored for retirees who are younger than 80 years old and want to get a health insurance plan that passes the visa renewal requirement.”
    When I looked up approved providers on tgia.org I did not find Luma there. Please help me understand what my options are.

    Reply
    • This plan from Luma is underwritten by Navakij Insurance. And this company is also listed on tgia.org.

      Reply
  3. Well read carefully all the comments and it strikes me no one has a clear understanding of what is required so my assumption is use an agent to apply for your driving license your bank account and 12 month visa as they are not requesting you deposit 800.000baht per person and if your a couple 1.6 million into a bank account plus a decent health insurance will be £2500 looking at the Thailand requirements for a retirement visa they offer three and the cheapest one actually covers you for very little. But is designed to get cheaply around the visa requirements so really doesn’t protect you or support the Thai health system so it is all confusing ???

    Reply
  4. Hi I am a British expat live Thailand 26 years. I plan to return to UK for just 10 days
    As far as I know, I am not required to have Health Insurance. As I have a retire Visa “0”
    but when I applied for the Thailand pass, it asked show Health certificate! At 80 years old I cannot get health insurance, I guess they think I’m at deaths door!
    Also when applied they wanted $79! I thought it was free!

    Reply
    • The insurance is required for the Thailand Pass because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once Thailand cancel the Thailand Pass, which should be within a few months, there should be a chance that you won’t need to get insurance anymore for flying to Thailand.

      Reply
  5. It’s been over a year since implementation, would people share their experiences with this health insurance change. Thanks

    Reply
  6. surely the alternative is to show extra funds in Thai bank. If you can show 3 million baht for example or a superannuation income of $100000 then surely that will cut it…or is there NO flexibility .It is very difficult for over 75s to get health insurance

    Reply
    • One (very costly) alternative is a Thai Elite visa. It costs 500,000 baht and is good for 5 years. (There are other longer-term available). It completely eliminates any insurance or income requirements for five years, and comes with some perks which may be of interest to some people but not others. If you can stand the financial pain, it’s a viable option. Some of the older folks (like me) are unable to find any insurer regardless of price, and depending of Thai Immigration to (1) address the issue in my lifetime and (2) arrive at a logical solution assuming they do take action seems a remote possibility.

      Reply
  7. New Retirement Visa Requirement Flawed

    As of October 31, 2019 Thai Immigration require that Non-Immigration O-A visa holders & applicants carry health insurance from the limited list of providers on their website. They do not consider international health insurance certificates from companies (i.e. Cigna, Blue Cross, etc) that are not on this list.
    I carry an International health insurance policy (Cigna) which is accepted worldwide and covers up to 3m THB annually and 30m THB lifetime. This far exceeds the minimum coverage of 400k THB noted in the new requirement. However, Thai Immigration will not accept the certificate from Cigna to extend my Non-OA retirement visa.
    I pay about 6k USD for my Cigna policy annual premium and wish to keep it due to its extensive coverage. I’ve no interest in carrying a 2nd policy which would be additional expense, redundant, and inferior just to meet new visa requirements.

    Hopefully Thai Immigration officials will review and amend this new requirement to include international policies that meet or exceed the new coverage guidelines.

    Reply
    • you have the link that show they are not covered in Thailand because I was shopping Cigna my self for that and I just joined a Thai visa group on FB and they said only 14 companies are exceptedhttps://longstay.tgia.org/home/companiesoa and Cigna isn’t on there and only company that is on there that carry what I was shopping for was pacific cross
      the agent emailing me to check it so if you have the link please share thanks

      Reply
  8. One alternative Thai immigration should consider is a medical escrow account, where expats can keep 400,000 baht in the account that can only be used for medical payments, unless and until they show valid health insurance certificates. For those with foreign health insurance or who choose to self-pay for health care it seems this would be a valid option, especially for older residents who either cannot get health insurance, or the premium is too high for the coverage offered.

    Reply
    • I think that’s an excellent idea. Though I guess the concern would be that those who can’t get insurance are also the ones most likely to generate medical bills that exceed that coverage amount. Then of course there is the issue of the insurance lobby, which tends to be pretty strong regardless of which country you go to: They have a big stake in this and, unlike expat retirees, a pretty well-heard voice when it comes to policy makers.

      Reply
  9. I have a 3 year relationship with my Thai girl friend and I had a retirement visa which I renewed each year for 3 years. It expired last week and I couldn’t renew it again because of the new rules requiring large amounts of money in a Thai Bank. So I decided to go to Ho Chi Minh, Viet Nam, to get a 3 month Tourist Visa. They rejected my application which was perfect according to their website and they wouldn’t say why it was rejected. I returned to Thailand where they gave me 30 days then I went to The Thai Consulate in Bangkok. They said they cannot tell me why because criminals may learn the reason and thus gain entry. Ridiculous, criminals can read their website and how does not telling me help me to apply again. I pointed this out and they said try again at Vientiane, Laos next time. Does the Laos consulate not have the same rules as Viet Nam or is it down to the local manager being in a good mood or not? They also suggested I take out health insurance which is not applicable for a Tourist Visa. And what if they reject it again? They won’t accept repeated monthly visa runs now.
    Thais don’t like to complain so there doesn’t appear to be any way to let the authorities know the difficulties that they create. Surely, what they are doing is counter productive as it is putting off foreigners from spending huge amounts of money in Thailand. I am now considering taking my girl friend to live in the UK forever. Is that what they want?

    Reply
    • Yes that’s what they want. When she go with you to the UK then she will be sending more money back to Thailand to her family. If you stay there you would spend less on the family. They know what they’re doing.

      Reply
  10. The Pattaya Expats’ Club state recently that a non immigrant type ‘o’ visa does not have to be partnered with medical health insurance. Is it true ?

    Reply
    • Hi Richard,

      There are many types of Non-O visa. eg. marriage visa is also non-o. If it’s Non-O visa based on retirement, from what we have heard so far, you still need to have health insurance.

      Reply
      • Hi Richard,

        Where did you hear that health insurance is required for Non-O visa holders based on retirement. Is your source from the government? I received this week this visa without medical insurance.

        Reply
    • If you obtain you retirement visa at a Thai Embassy in your home country it appears that the requirements have not change recently, they are the same as for the last 10 years or so. You do the requirements and apply, pay the money for a multi-entry Thai Retirement Visa, however when you arrive on your now valad paid for multi-entry retirement visa it appears before being allowed entry you may have to provide proof that you have medical insurance as required. No where can I find on the Canberra Australia Thai web site that medical insurance is required to get the visa. But but!! if you have no insurance the visa may be NBG (no bloody good) persons entering Thailand are granted entry at the discretion of Immigration officers. There are so many ifs and buts with Thai Immigration?? What does all this really mean. At 78 y/o it is very difficult to get medical insurance from anywhere let alone at short notice upon arrival to get through Thai Immigration.

      Reply
  11. Your statement that “You can get health insurance from either an offshore insurance company or a local insurance company” is incorrect. It conflicts with the “…must buy a Thai health insurance online…” (the yellow highlighted area in the regulation.

    It also conflicts with the practice. Two days ago my extension of stay was rejected although I have an excellent international worldwide health insurance from Allianz.

    Reply
    • Hi Rapahel,

      Thanks for this information. We will take a look more into this.

      A question, when you applied for the extension of stay, did you print out your insurance plan that clearly state the coverage amount for both IPD and OPD?

      Reply
  12. Hi Saran.. Forgive my ignorance on this.. I am the holder of a Non-immigrant O-A visa multiple entry. My extension of stay renewal is not until Sept 2020. To be clear: If I leave the Kingdom and return prior to extension renewal I will need to show Insurance coverage?? Thks

    Reply
    • Based on my understanding, if you leave Thailand with an active multiple entry Non O-A visa, you don’t need to have health insurance when you come back to Thailand. But when your current visa is expired and you need to renew it, then you need to show health insurance.

      Reply
  13. i think 800000 bahts deposit in the bank for retirement visa is already guarantee to pay medical bill, afterall, the mandatory insurance max reimbursement is only 400000 bahts.

    Maybe major problem is the other visa alternative allowing monthly income only as eligibility for retirement visa, without the need of 800000 baht bank deposit. So i think probably this group has to be insured against possible large medical bills?

    Reply
  14. Hmmmm, and the real reason for this Compulsory insurance through a Thai insurance company is what? Using the figures given, apparently 680000 expats didn’t pay their hospital bills which had an estimated total of 305 million baht. So, if we divide the ‘outstanding’ sum (305 million baht) by the ‘rogue’ expats (680,000) we get what as an average hospital bill which hasn’t been paid? You do your own sum and make up your own mind as to why this has been brought in.

    Reply
  15. If you must have compulsory health cover for a non 0-A then what is their rationalisation for the need to have a bunch of money tied up in a bank?

    Reply
  16. The insurance requirement cited in para 6, states “must buy a Thai health insurance online ….. via the website longstay.tgia.org.”. As you are suggesting other ways of obtaining an insurance policy, do you have some insight form somewhere other than what is stated in para 6?

    Thanks,
    Ken

    Reply
    • This should be a confusing part from the official announcement. When you go to that website, you can’t buy insurance there. In the end, it only just points out to the insurance plan you can get.

      Reply
  17. I am too old to get health insurance but I do have more than 800,000 baht in my Thai Bank Account so I do hope they will let us older expatriates stay in Thailand without Thai health insurance if we can show that we have at least 440,000 baht in a Thai bank.

    Reply
    • Thai Government is looking into this issue as well. There might be a new requirement for those who can’t buy the insurance. I expect there should be more information regarding this soon.

      Reply
    • I have used my Australian bank managed retirement fund which is well in excess of the required Bt800,000 amount to get a Thai Retirement Visa and the Thai Embassy in Canberra is happy with this. My fund has a surrender value of the full amount if required in 10 days. The statement must an original document. It comes from the banks pension fund on their letter head. I am 78 years old. The Thai Embassy tells me this document is all I need “don’t send anything more this is enough”. This where things become uncertain. Do I require this insurance if I get my new retirement visa in Aus at the Thai Embassy and what are the issues? In the short term I’m using a 6 months tourist visa which is good for 8 months (TIT yes) with 3 boarder runs. No insurance required (yet?). There are good benefits making trips too and from Aus on this visa get free medical if required, prescriptions, restoration of the pension bonus which you automatically loose after 6 weeks absent ($59 P/F) is restored which means the Aus Govt really pays half the fare BKK to Perth. Financially I am well in front with frequent returns to Aus. I do it also when I have had a retirement visa issued in Aus and save lots on money.
      Enquiries through insurance companies or brokers for the required covey reveals they only provide cover far in excess of the Thai Govt requirements Bt40,000 outpatients and Bt400,000 hospital cover. The premium is very high. Brokers tell me they are not providing cover for the bare requirements of the Thai govt. only comprehensive cove at a much higher premium. At my age all pre-existing ailments will not be covered and at the same time a penalty up to several thousand Aus dollars will be applied and an excess also will be required.
      Does this mean that as very few insurance companies will take the cover if you are over 74 y/o then you should forget Thai Retirement Visas and just travel on a tourist visas from now on???

      Reply
  18. This is correct, I don’t think so? …you now need to have health insurance if you want to spend your retirement in Thailand.

    And you deleted my name from the TransferWise article that I wrote for you …

    Reply
    • Hey John, sorry for the TransferWise article. There’s some technical issues when we move from Thailandstarterkit.com to expatden.com. And this should be one of them that we never realize.

      Anyway, we already put your name as the author of that article 🙂

      Reply
  19. This is a good move by the Thai Government to protect the interest of the retires who want to come over and retire in Thailand. When compared to some other countries, it is still economical to retire in Thailand.

    Reply
  20. do not quite understand why those can avoid paying the medical bills, they need to report every 90 days their residential address, so can be sued in court of law, or blacklisted by immigration for further visa extension,

    ie unless the public hospitals do not pursue further, or inform immigration

    Reply
    • I guess one issue a lot of countries nowadays have is that it’s impossible to recover medical debt unless the person has assets or holds a job / income in that country. Sure, blacklisting would be an option (which may be difficult from a legal point of view), but that wouldn’t change that the bill may up having to be paid by the hospital or tax payer. It’s already a law for many countries and visa types. As medical costs in Thailand increase and retirees are more likely to come down with an expensive illness, I assume this will soon be well enforced.

      Reply
    • Yes well? If your in a comer and very sick and the Thai Hospital puts you on life support for a month and you die (2 friends have been in that position recently) who pays…this to some extent what this debate is all about.

      Reply
    • It would seem prudent to me that the Bt800,000 provided by retirement visa applicants half Bt400,000 could be a bond lodged with Thai Health Services redeemable as your visa expires when you leave the country held for unexpected medical bill for the time of the visa and the other Bt400,000 could be released to the visa holder to help live on. With my most recent application for a retirement visa the lady at the Thai Embassy in Canberra Australia convinced me that the Bt800,000 requirement was
      so it could be proved you had enough money to live for your stay in Thailand, being 12 months and maybe more. There are a lot of fake bank accounts in Thailand issued by corrupt people…you can still get a multi-entry Thai Retirement Visa in Thailand it depends which door you go through (TIT). Inflation has increased these visa prices to about Bt33,000. Just look on the internet and you will find at least 10 reputable, honest, above board, legal law abiding Thai law firms providing this service…yes TIT

      Reply

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