The Thai Government has released the new health insurance rules for retirement visa holders.
Soon, all retirees holding a non-immigrant O-A visa are going to need health insurance to live in Thailand.
Let’s take a look at the new rules, those who it affects, and your options.
What is It?
On April 9, 2019, the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand announced on their website the new insurance rules for current and future non-immigrant O-A visa holders.
If you have a non-immigrant O-A visa, you must have insurance with the following coverage amounts:
- 400,000 baht for in-patient coverage, or IPD
- 40,000 baht for outpatient coverage, or OPD
It’s possible that this new insurance rule is going to apply to both new non-immigrant O-A visa applicants and current non-immigrant O-A visa holders who want to extend their visas.
When is the Rule Going into Effect?
The Thai government is going to clarify the new insurance rule and when it’s going into effect by the end of December 2019.
The only affected visa from this new rule is the non-immigrant O-A visa, also known as the one-year retirement visa. This visa lets those who are older than 50 stay in Thailand for at least one year, and it can be extended each year.
This is not actually a new insurance rule, though. Holders of the non-immigrant visa O-X, also known as the five-year retirement visa, have needed mandatory insurance since 2017.
Does this Rule Effect Other Visa Types?
It’s possible that that same rule will apply to other types of long-term visas in the future, but the coverage amount might be different.
If you are holding non-immigrant B visa, non-immigrant EDU visa, or non-immigrant O visa for marriage, you don’t need health insurance.
But it’s always a good idea to buy health insurance in Thailand so you get good medical care when something unexpected happens.
Why is Health Insurance Suddenly Required?
The Thai government claims that the new health insurance rule was introduced because of the increasing number of unpaid medical bills from expats living in Thailand.
In 2018, 680,000 out of 3,420,000 expats who visited the hospital didn’t pay their bills. The total unpaid amount was estimated at 305 million baht.
The majority of unpaid bills were from retirees.
Health Insurance Choices
You can get health insurance from either an offshore insurance company or a local insurance company as long as the plan covers you for 400,000 baht for IPD and 40,000 baht for OPD.
You must remember to have the IPD and OPD coverage amounts clearly stated on your health insurance policy to avoid miscommunication with immigration officers.
How Much Do I Have to Pay?
Health insurance premiums depend on your age, pre-existing conditions, coverage amount, and coverage area.
If you need a plan to satisfy the new visa requirements of 400,000 baht coverage for IPD and 40,000 baht coverage for OPD, you can get a plan for 50,000 baht if you’re a 50-year-old male.
Where Can I Get Insurance?
The easiest way to get health insurance in Thailand is though Mister Prakan. You can compare local insurance plans and pick the one that’s most suitable for you.
If you want something more comprehensive, you can check out Luma. They are more expensive than what’s provided on Mister Prakan, but Luma comes with 32,000,000 baht worth of coverage.
What if I Can’t Buy Health Insurance?
The Thai government is changing the financial requirements and will soon update retirement visa holders.
But if you can’t buy health insurance for whatever reason, you should expect to have to show more money in your bank account when you apply for your new retirement visa.
This is to make that you have enough money to pay for your medical bills if you don’t have health insurance.
This rule is not set in place yet. Soon, we may see changes in retirement visa requirements. Visa requirements may be separated between those who have health insurance and those who don’t.
Now, on to You
If you have a non-immigrant O-A visa you should pay close attention to the new health insurance rules. More information should be released by the end of this year.
Regardless of the law, it’s still a good idea to get health insurance if you retire in Thailand.
You can fill out this form to get in touch with an insurance broker, tell them your requirements, and let them find you a suitable plan.