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Cabinet approves mandatory health insurance for long-stay visas

PHUKET: The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has announced that Cabinet has approved mandatory health insurance as a new requirement for all foreigners staying in the country on one-year Non-Immigrant O-A “visas”, or “permits-to-stay” - better known simply as ’retirement visas’.

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By The Phuket News

Tuesday 14 May 2019, 12:02PM


UPDATE: Phuket Immigration Chief Col Kathathorn Kumthieng confirmed to The Phuket News today (May 14) that he has been informed of the new requirement but that he has yet to receive an order for his office to start applying it when processing applications for one-year Non-Immigrant O-A permits-to-stay.

Col Kathathorn also confirmed that the new insusrance requirement applies only to Non-Immigrant O-A "retirement" visas.


Dr Natthawut Prasertsiripong, Chief of the MoPH Department of Health Service Support, following his announcement last Wednesday (May 8) confirmed that the Cabinet approved the new requirement on April 2. (See here.)

“Cabinet approved an extra health insurance requirement for foreigners applying for one-year Non-Immigrant O-A visas,” Dr Natthawut said.

The new requirement applies to all foreigners aged 50 or older,” he added.

“The insurance policy must provide up to B40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and up to B400,000 for inpatient treatment during their stay in the Kingdom of Thailand,” Dr Nutthawut said.

The requirement applies to all new applicants for one-year non-immigrant O-A visas, and for those applying to “renew” their one-year permits-to-stay, he said.

Dr Nutthawut explained that the move was a joint policy decision by the MoPH, the Ministry of Foreign Affiars and the Immigration Bureau.

“The Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC, see here) has also supported the move by working with private insurance providers to develop and offer appropriate policies,” he said.

“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,’ Dr Nutthawut said.

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“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,” he added.

Seven Thai insurance providers are now offering policies to match the new requirement.

The policies are being offered through a special website set up at longstay.tgia.org.

If a foreigner already has insurance provided by an agent overseas, the policy must provide the same amount of coverage, Dr Nutthawut said.

“I have to talk with consular officials on the process of checking that overseas policies are valid,” he said

Dr Nutthawut also explained that consideration is being made for foreigners whose health risks are considered by private insurance companies as too high to offer coverage.

“The relevant authorities might consider 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,” he said.

The news comes as the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) last month signed a memorandum of understanding with three leading insurance companies to provide an insurance policy, Thailand Travel Shield, for foreign tourists.

The insurance plan, an online insurance package, provides coverage of up to B2 million with premiums starting from B400 per trip, up to seven days, and can be bought online by new arrivals to the country.(See story here.)

 

 

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Rorri_2 | 21 May 2019 - 10:11:53

Seems to me this is another way to gouge funds from foreigners, and give money to Thai insurance companies, so far no foreign companies granted rights, but hey with 38.27 million tourists in 2018, why no charge an 30baht entry fee, this gives approx. 40 million dollars/year, no one can tell me this wouldn't cover all foreigners, short term, and long term, for unpaid medical costs.

Kurt | 19 May 2019 - 15:48:16

"No need to panic!"  No, but on that web site are thai insurances only, just covering Thailand. Many Expats, like the French, have international insurances, these offer much better coverage for the same or less premium. So, I want to see a list of foreign insurances, accepted by thai Officialdom. Like:  "Regency, for Expats", with also a office in Bangkok.

Shwe | 18 May 2019 - 14:04:52

So it is the pesky long stay foreigners cheating the hospitals.  Go to private hospital and you have to register and show your passport, immigration requires us to report our address and re report every 90 days, so all a hospital has to do is contact immigration with the name and passport number, the cheater can easily be traced, isn't this what the reporting is for? just kick us all out be ho...

Island Man | 16 May 2019 - 10:02:27

No need to panic! These policies are being offered through a special website set up at longstay.tgia.org.
Pretty straight forward don't you think?

Kurt | 15 May 2019 - 14:16:50

It looks like the designers of this new medical insurance policy are completely by passing the fact that a foreign retiree has 800,000 thb at his thai bankaccount. Is that not mend for any sudden event/happening? (At least for outpatient happenings). Than for what is the 800,000 thb demand?

Kurt | 15 May 2019 - 14:05:57

BigA, you can google-->: Regency, protecting people globally. ( including 70+).  Anyway, this new retirement visa demand will shake the foreign retirement community. Guess a number of them will leave thailand.
Technically spoken, a outpatient insurance sounds a 'bit over the hill', because there is 800,000 thb in thai bankaccount, enough to cover that 40,000 thb demand. Right?

Pascale | 15 May 2019 - 11:18:20

Nothing wrong of making a Health Insurance mandatory,But OPD is complete nonsense.It benefits only overcharging hospitals, it's quite expensive compared to what you get for and actually they pay only between 1500 and 3000 per visit.Do they really think a retiree can't afford that?  The prices for the  insurance from that website 400.000/40.000 are ridiculous  too.

BigA | 15 May 2019 - 08:06:26

Can you get Health insurance when  you 67 years or older or toes this mean all this expats have to leave? Is this an other one of this well thought off decision made by those experts? Please name any  of this insurance company's who are willing to insure people 65 and older!  Horst

Fascinated | 14 May 2019 - 13:02:26

A bit pointless making OPD compulsory.

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