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Mandatory health insurance for foreigners aged over 50 in Thailand - why it may not affect you


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Mandatory health insurance for foreigners aged over 50 in Thailand - why it may not affect you

 

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On Tuesday (14 May) it was reported that foreigners aged over 50 applying for a particular visa type now need mandatory health insurance.

 

The new requirements, which were approved by Cabinet in April and announced by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), state that people applying or renewing (or rather re-applying for) a Non-Immigrant Visa OA now need to have health insurance from either a Thai insurance company or from a policy bought overseas.

 

Following the announcement, Thaivisa has been inundated with comments, messages and emails from concerned expats, many of whom mistakenly think this requirement for mandatory health insurance affects them.

 

The requirement for mandatory health insurance appears to only affect those applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa OA.

 

According to the announcement on the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) website, it does not affect anyone who stays in Thailand on an extension of stay based on retirement, which is often incorrectly referred to as a ‘retirement visa’.

 

Extensions of stay are not visas. Most retirees who stay in Thailand do so on an ‘extension of stay based on retirement’.

 

A Non-Immigrant Visa OA can only be applied for at Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate overseas.

 

Anyone who has a Non-Immigrant Visa OA typically applies for this at the Thai Embassy or Consulate in their home country.

 

An extension of stay based on retirement can only be obtained at an immigration office within Thailand.

 

It’s the extension of stay based on retirement which have recently been the subject of the much publicised change in the financial requirements which need to be met in order to be granted the extension.

 

To differentiate, a Non-Immigrant Visa OA looks like this:

 

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An extension of stay based on retirement looks like this:

 

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The announcement made by the Ministry of Public Health does not appear to mention ‘extensions of stay based on retirement’, only that mandatory health insurance is a requirement for those applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa OA.

 

To also further put this recent announcement into context, back in November 2016, the Cabinet of Thailand approved its Non-Immigrant Visa OX - which was heralded as a ‘10 year retirement visa’.

 

The Non-Immigrant Visa OX, which was finally launched in August 2017, was actually two 5 year visas, and was aimed at affluent retirees from 14 countries including Australia, UK, USA, France and Germany.

 

As well as requiring 3 million baht in a Thai bank before application, it also had a requirement for mandatory health insurance.

 

In fact, the website listed in the announcement on 14 May 2019 - https://longstay.tgia.org/ - is the same website that was listed when the Non-Immigrant Visa OX was launched.

 

When the Non-Immigrant Visa OX was launched, despite it having a requirement for mandatory health insurance and despite it being a '10 year retirement visa', it did not mean that those same requirements were applied to expats staying in Thailand on an ‘extension of stay based on retirement’.

 

That wouldn't be the case because a Non-Immigrant Visa OX and an ‘extension of stay based on retirement’ are different things and have different requirements.

 

Just like a Non-Immigrant Visa OA and an ‘extension of stay based on retirement’ are different and have different requirements.

 

Now, it is not to say that other visa types or extensions of stay may be subject to having mandatory health insurance at some point in the future, but at this moment in time, it appears the new requirements only apply to those on Non-Immigrant Visa OA, and not extensions of stay based on retirement.

 

It is worth noting that while the mandatory health insurance requirements for Non-Immigrant Visa OA were approved in April, there is no information as to exactly when they will come into force or how the requirement will be implemented.

 

But it should be stressed that we are still awaiting clarification from Immigration regarding the interpretation and implementation of the new mandatory health insurance rules, including who exactly is affected.

 

Finally, if you are living in Thailand permanently, this should not deter from the fact that it is always recommended you have adequate health or medical insurance.

 

RELATED: Range of Health Plans‎ for Expats in Thailand

 

 

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-- © Copyright Thai Visa News 2019-05-15
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14 minutes ago, webfact said:

But it should be stressed that we are still awaiting clarification from Immigraiton regarding the interpretation and implementation of the new mandatory health insurance rules, including who exactly is affected.

So it's as clear as mud

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There is not much money in it if only for Non-Immigrant Visa OA. And all the Thai insurance companies are already lining up for their slice and retirees are the pie.

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Not seeing the rationale here. Surely it's the older retirees that are more likely to need health insurance rather than the many younger expats married to Thai's (who probably already have health cover anyway).

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33 minutes ago, Geordieabroad said:

So it's as clear as mud

Agree, clear as mud.

 

I wish someone with the appropriate skills would put into an easy to read / understand graphic.

 

Perhaps multiple columns, each column representing a visa / extension type then in each column a 'does apply ' or 'doesn't apply', or whatever.

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I thought this article was clear and helpful, even if the rules still are not. Thanks!

However, a suggestion: should this new requirement for mandatory health insurance ever be extended to apply to extensions based on retirement, perhaps the health insurance that Thai Visa is selling (notably, right along side these articles) could also be available to the full range of retirees who've lived in Thailand for many years - - often because paying full rate for medical care in Thailand is STILL less expensive than buying insurance back home. Currently the Pacific Cross insurance Thai Visa is hawking only covers people to age 64.

The expats who will be most effected by this requirement, if applied to extensions based on retirement, are those who have retired here on a fixed income, and who have aged out of basically any insurance (affordable or otherwise) available for purchase in Thailand. So, even if financially able to buy the insurance, they can't. And, likely, have no where to go to if unable to stay in Thailand.

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I have been here 12 years and this is the first time I realise (have been explained) that a "Retirement" visa (which I have) is not the same as an extension of a "Non-immigrant O-A" visa.

Let us see how long time this distinction will be upheld

 

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8 minutes ago, carbon007 said:

I have been here 12 years and this is the first time I realise (have been explained) that a "Retirement" visa (which I have) is not the same as an extension of a "Non-immigrant O-A" visa.

Let us see how long time this distinction will be upheld

 

The visa in your passport shows it is either an O visa or an O-A visa

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3 minutes ago, Kay McDonnell said:

Maybe media outlets should clarify the information before announcing these statements in future. 

And miss a lot of clicks?

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

The requirement for mandatory health insurance appears to only affect those applying for a Non-Immigrant Visa OA.

For now.....
 

26 minutes ago, scorecard said:

I wish someone with the appropriate skills would put into an easy to read / understand graphic.


Here you go:

index.jpg.74ac493778ccaa773c6b3e5399d960b0.jpg

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16 minutes ago, carbon007 said:

I have been here 12 years and this is the first time I realise (have been explained) that a "Retirement" visa (which I have) is not the same as an extension of a "Non-immigrant O-A" visa.

Let us see how long time this distinction will be upheld

 

If you have been here for 12 years you have an extension of stay based on retirement, unless you go home each year and get a new OA visa. 

 

you get an extension of your stay not an extension of a visa.

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1 hour ago, webfact said:

Finally, if you are living in Thailand permanently, this should not deter from the fact that it is always recommended you have adequate health or medical insurance.

There is a huge difference between having 'adequate health or medical insurance' and being forced to buy mandated insurance that covers little to nothing but cost a fortune, and is so full of exclusions for pre-existing conditions as to be fundamentally useless.  But the mandated insurance which covers little and costs a fortune are those being touted by the Thai government.  

I have adequate insurance in excess of 30 million THB, but it doesn't meet the terms of Thailand's mandated insurance.  And that's a problem.

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I said yesterday not to get your knickers in a twist as is was just going to be phased in for O-A Visa holders. These visa holders are not tying dollars up in a Thai bank and hence are being penalized for not having and extension. If it was going to be phased into extensions, most of the expat population would be wiped out in a year or two and personally, I do think that would not happen unless the Government was really serious in shaking us out.

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8 minutes ago, malagateddy said:

Reliably informed that the 1st of July is "starting date "...also sadly expats on retirement or marriage extensions will have to have the mandatory h/c requirements.

Says where and said by whom. Will only believe when I see the police order with it clearly written on it.

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Says where and said by whom. Will only believe when I see the police order with it clearly written on it.
Wait and see.
I am not a gossip monger..I was told this by someone who is in a position to know things.
The same person told me over 15 MONTHS ago about meetings being set up re healthcare insurance becoming mandatory

Sent from my SM-G7102 using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app

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8 minutes ago, connda said:

There is a huge difference between having 'adequate health or medical insurance' and being forced to buy mandated insurance that covers little to nothing but cost a fortune, and is so full of exclusions for pre-existing conditions as to be fundamentally useless.  But the mandated insurance which covers little and costs a fortune are those being touted by the Thai government.  

I have adequate insurance in excess of 30 million THB, but it doesn't meet the terms of Thailand's mandated insurance.  And that's a problem.

I imagine any current policies will be adjusted to take in the new requirements or you will be able to switch to a policy that provides your current coverage and the new requirements. 

The Thai government isn't touting any insurance policies, they have a web-page that links to policies that insurance companies set up to meet the minimum OX visa requirements.

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Not very heartening, really. I am not sure the Cabinet or translators are so precise to distinguish between applying for a visa and applying to extend the visa you already have. The latter would make much more sense as presumably long staying 'retirement visa' (OA visa extenders based on retirement) are older and need more medical care.

 

I just hope there is a provision for keeping some cash (eg 440k Baht) in an account so you don't have to pay these parasites in the insurance industry.

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58 minutes ago, jessc said:


The expats who will be most effected by this requirement, if applied to extensions based on retirement, are those who have retired here on a fixed income, and who have aged out of basically any insurance (affordable or otherwise) available for purchase in Thailand. So, even if financially able to buy the insurance, they can't. And, likely, have no where to go to if unable to stay in Thailand.

Thai expats can choose between Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines. All three of these countries are glad to take the expats that Thailand kicks out.

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And who has been the  cause of this due ri sensational reporting Thai visa and the Nation . for several months many expats have been worried that it may affect them . I feel the frustrations of many expats due to your poor clarity .

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17 minutes ago, malagateddy said:

Wait and see.
I am not a gossip monger..I was told this by someone who is in a position to know things.
The same person told me over 15 MONTHS ago about meetings being set up re healthcare insurance becoming mandatory

Sent from my SM-G7102 using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app
 

That is the very definition of gossip, telling an unfounded and un-sourced story.

 

If you have legitimate information that proves the OP wrong and effects all of us, why not share it, and the source.

 

Is this information, including the start date, written down anywhere ?

 

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