The news came at a meeting in Bangkok yesterday (Oct 19), where it was decided to raise the mandatory health insurance for long-stay foreigners so that the health insurance covers treatment for COVID-19.
The meeting also decided that foreigners may provide evidence of the required health insurance coverage as provided from the country of origin.
The new health insurance requirements were made effective immediately, hence they came into effect yesterday (Oct 19).
The high-powered meeting was led by Dr Satit Pitutecha, Deputy Minister of Public Health, together with Chaiwat Chuenkosoom, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Interior.
Also present were Daranee Likhitworasak, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports; Dr Thares Krasanaiyarawiwong, Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support; Donwit Poolsawat, Director of the Foreign Visa and Travel Documents Division; Pol Maj Gen Piti Nithinontaset, Immigration Commander Division 1; and Chuchat Pralumphol. Deputy Secretary-General of the Insurance Regulatory Commission (OIC).
After the meeting confirmed the policy shift, the party of top-ranking officials held a press conference called “improve additional rules to support health insurance for foreigners who apply for temporary visas. Non-Immigrant Visa code O-A (1 year term)”
According to a report of the meeting posted by the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Satit said, “The government has a policy to promote health tourism, to make Thailand a global health centre (Medical Hub). There is an opening of health tourism routes, the development of Thai herbal products, Thai massage and spa, and development of the potential of health care facilities, both public and private at all levels, including health establishments to achieve quality standards that are internationally accepted to attract more tourists to enter the country.
“In the past, there were 3,768 elderly people applying for a visa for a long stay (Long Stay) for a period of not more than one year,” he said, citing data from the Immigration Bureau and the Department of Consular Affairs.
“On June 15, 2021, the Cabinet approved in principle to improve additional rules as proposed by the Ministry of Health and relevant agencies by requiring foreigners who apply for a visa can purchase health insurance from abroad or have government welfare from abroad, and adjusting the health insurance limit from the original B40,000 for outpatients and B400,000 for inpatients, changing [this] to a limit to cover medical expenses and have insurance that covers the treatment of COVID-19 for not less than US$100,000 or B3,000,000 baht, effective from today [Oct 19] onwards to build confidence to foreigners who will come to receive protection and care throughout the period of their stay in the Kingdom.” he said.
Dr Thares Ratanaiyarawiwong, Director-General of the Department of Health Service Support, said that for the criteria for applying for a temporary visa for a period of one year will be used for elderly foreigners.
“Those who cannot purchase insurance in Thailand, those whose overseas insurance purchase certification form does not comply with the insurance business system/benefits from various funds, and those who apply for a second visa renewal [extend] wishing to apply for health insurance from abroad, this will reduce the problem of visa applicants unable to apply for a second visa, as well as upgrading and screening foreigners who will travel to Thailand.
“The policy can be purchased online through the Thai General Insurance Association website. https://longstay.tgia.org. There are 17 regional insurance companies participating in the program,” r Thares said.