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Mandatory health insurance for retirement visas to start July

PHUKET: The mandatory health insurance for applicants of Non-Immigrant O-A “retirement” visas approved by the Cabinet last month is likely to be introduced in July, reports The Nation.

By The Phuket News

Thursday 16 May 2019, 09:35AM

A foreign expat files an application at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: The Phuket News / file

A foreign expat files an application at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket Town. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Under the new regulation, foreigners applying Non-Immigrant O-A visas and one-year permits-to-stay will have to have health insurance providing B40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and B400,000 for inpatient. (See story here.)

“We will ask the Immigration Bureau, the Foreign Ministry and the Insurance Department for additional details and implementation guidelines next week,” Saowapa Jongkittipong, who leads the Health Service Support Department’s International Health Division, said yesterday (May 15), reported The Nation. (See story here.)

“Current holders of this visa will have to produce proof of their health insurance for visa renewal,” she said.

Dr Natthawut Prasertsiripong, Chief of the MoPH Department of Health Service Support, in announcing the new regulation last Wednesday (May 8) explained that the requirement was being introduced because foreigners in their elder years staying on retirement visas have more health issues than other foreigners staying on other types of visas

“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,” Dr Natthawut added.

Ms Saowapa yesterday said that last year foreigners incurred B305 million in unpaid medical bills, while foreigners in 2017 left B346mn in unpaid medical bills, The Nation reported.


If categorised by the number of medical visits, statistics show about one-fifth of foreign patients did not pay their bills, said the report.

“For instance, foreigners made 3.42 million medical visits last year, and did not pay for 680,000 of them, while in 2017, foreigners made 3.3 million medical visits and did not pay for 565,000 of them,” the report added.

However, the report did not differentiate whether these figures included unpaid medical bills incurred by short-stay tourists injured while on holiday in Thailand, or by elderly expats staying on retirement visas, or both.

Ms Saowapa said further discussions among relevant agencies would help establish which diseases would be covered under the mandatory health insurance, noted the report.

The ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs have been instructed to inform all foreigners of these new requirements. Currently, citizens of only 14 countries require health insurance when seeking Thai visas for five years and above, the report added.



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Kurt | 17 May 2019 - 14:54:31

Challenge Officialdom! They talk a lot of lies and rubbish. For a Expat, with a 800,000 thb compulsory deposit in a thai bankaccount it is impossible to leave a thai hospital after any treatment without pay the bill first. Unpaid hospital bills are not these of expats, but of tourists. So, Officials should direct their attention on that large group of people. Not the expats!

Kurt | 17 May 2019 - 12:58:02

Do we smell here money making corruption in thai government over the heads of Expats who have already 800,000 thb in deposits? Now this 800,000 + 400,000 + 40,000 = 1,240,000 thb. What is this for nonsense?

megamind | 17 May 2019 - 01:21:18

sure 40.000 OUTPATIENT or is it junk news?

Steve wooly | 16 May 2019 - 23:37:45

how much money is wasted on head injuries and subsequent deaths of people not wearing helmets on their motorbikes especially when  they carry a helmet in the front basket obscuring the headlight. It's so much easier to put the blame on foreigners 

Steve wooly | 16 May 2019 - 22:36:53

my insurance premium increases every time a local crashes into me none of them are insured and many of them are unlicensed,  many farangs come here and rent motorbikes when they only have a car licence and the rental companies don t care as long as they can make money, what is being done about this? Thailand is the most dangerous place in the world to drive yet you rent motorbikes to them

Steve wooly | 16 May 2019 - 22:06:38

what about compulsory insurance for locals  who crash into me ? usually they will drive off and leave me and my motorbike in the road, if it is a motorbike and sidecar that crashes into me they are not insureable what then? so many locals drive unlicensed, uninsured on illegal vehicles while I am fully insured and fully legal.Do you believe this is fair ?

Steve wooly | 16 May 2019 - 21:59:08

what about  compulsory insurance  for loc

Kurt | 16 May 2019 - 19:53:26

Who pays my hospital bills when I was hurt while riding as passenger in a Phuket thai taxi or MiniVan, and the brakes not work, or the road was slippery and we rolled over/drove into a house/restaurant or concrete pole? Not me, right? I was just the passenger. Do the thai commercial drivers have per passenger a mandatory 40,000/400,000 thb insurance ? If not, why not, Thailand??

Kurt | 16 May 2019 - 12:11:21

Most unpaid medical bills are from short stay holiday foreigners, insured at home, but arriving in Thailand without travel/accident insurance. Why not make it mandatory for these tourists upon arrival in this dangerous road- and sea trips country Thailand to get at thai Consulates or thai airports a insurance for their holiday stay here before they pass thai Immigration? Problem solved.

Timothy | 16 May 2019 - 12:06:36

How about insurance for local's cars and pickups, Taxi, tuktuk, jet ski, rental motorbikes, tour boats, stupid ATV's, etc, etc. Seems like a lot of tourists are getting hurt somehow...

Timothy | 16 May 2019 - 11:59:14

What a safe holiday destination Thailand is with numbers like these. 3.42 million medical visits last year by foreigners. That's 9,369 per day! They don't mention how much money they made in profit from all the ones that did pay...And I assume these are only the numbers for the Government hospitals. Most fargang go to private. Very safe place to visit...

Timothy | 16 May 2019 - 11:49:10

The hospital would not continually provide treatment without payment. Therefore, people on retirement visa are very likely to pay. If not, they have 800,000 baht in the bank for this very reason. Stop renting motorbikes to unlicensed tourists and the number of hospital visits and unpaid bills will drop immediately. Older people can not get insurance. Farang go home is the message.  

Kurt | 16 May 2019 - 10:57:44

I not believe the non paid medical bills figures from the Chief of the MoPH Dept.
It more looks like they to lazy to go after and force the expat to pay medical bills from his thai bank deposit of 800,000 thb. After bills are paid the Expat can top-up his deposit again.  Easy, yes?

Kurt | 16 May 2019 - 10:51:39

Look forward for more info coming time. Insurances mentioned in Longstay.tgia.org are insuring within Thailand only. Do they accept a International Regency insurance for Expats? ( world wide coverage, except usa). Demand for 'outpatient' insurance is crazy, we have compulsory 800,000 thb in thai bankaccount.   What for is that 800,000thb there?

Shwe | 16 May 2019 - 10:37:58

I wonder which govt officials have shares in BDMS and insurance companies

Shwe | 16 May 2019 - 10:20:34

Most of that non payment number will be tourists, resident expats know full well that if you have no insurance or no credit card you wil not get treatment. 400K will go no where at any hospital in Thailand, I have insurance bit Bangkok hospital Phuket made me pay 50k deposit before getting a PET scan in Bangkok, provincial hospitals are rubbish, few good doctors and poor facilities, 

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