New COVID-19 insurance requirement for long-stay expats in Thailand
On June 15, 2021, deputy spokeswoman for the Thai government, Ms. Traisuree Taisaranakul, confirmed in principle that all foreign nationals applying for the non-immigrant O-A visa will be required to prove that they have insurance coverage of at least USD $100,000 (THB ฿3 million). This will likely be enforced once the Immigration Bureau has published the full details.
To give you a better understanding, this Pacific Prime Thailand article revisits what the non-immigrant O-A visa is, the requirements for the visa, and provides an explanation of the latest insurance update for those on/looking to secure O-A visas.
Non-immigrant O-A Visa
At present, foreign nationals aged 50 and over can apply for the non-immigrant O-A visa, which is the official term used for the retirement visa in Thailand. Applicants in this category can apply through their local Thai embassy and must present the following documents:
- Passport/travel document with at least 6 months validity
- Completed retirement visa application form
- Medical certificates confirming no prohibitive diseases such as leprosy, tuberculosis, elephantiasis, drug addiction, and/or third stage of a syphilis infection
Note: Prohibitive diseases may include others not already included above. Speak to your local Thai embassy representative for an updated list.
- Criminal record clearance
- Evidence of adequate financial support, either:
- Monthly income of at least THB ฿65,000; or
- The current balance of at least THB ฿800,000, which has been in the applicant’s bank account for a minimum of 1 month prior to applying for the visa
Health insurance requirement for non-immigrant O-A Visa
Since 2019, health insurance has been a mandatory requirement for expats on this type of visa and must offer:
- Outpatient coverage of at least THB ฿40,000
- Inpatient coverage of at least THB ฿400,000
For further reading:
- The retirement visa and mandatory health insurance in Thailand
- 5 best places for retirement in Thailand
Latest health insurance requirement for O-A visa holders
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, future O-A visa applicants must provide proof that they have secured the higher level of coverage (USD $100,000 (THB ฿3 million)). The insurance policy must also clearly state that it provides coverage for COVID-19.
Given that healthcare needs are evolving and the risk of being hospitalized once tested positive for COVID-19 has increased, retirees will be better off with the higher coverage. Moreover, this will help avoid issues of non-payment once admitted and treated, or even delays for some alternative treatments included on health plans.
Are you planning to travel to Thailand?
At Pacific Prime Thailand, we offer COVID-19 insurance coverage for foreigners planning to travel to Thailand with coverage of up to THB ฿3.5 million (equivalent to at least USD $100,000) for medical expenses due to injury or sickness. Our partner, Luma Health, also provides their version via the LUMA Thailand Pass plan.
For further reading:
- Thailand’s COVID-19 vaccine drive begins
- Alternative State Quarantine hotels: Your guide to ASQ in Thailand
Speak to your insurer or broker
As news of this latest change has yet to be enforced, it would be wise to stay ahead of the curve by contacting your insurer or broker on whether this will affect your current insurance status. To be clear, this update applies to holders of the one-year, non-immigrant O-A visa only. But given how things can change at a moment’s notice, you are encouraged to speak to an expert who can keep you up to date with the latest insurance news and updates.
Fortunately, Pacific Prime Thailand’s team of experts can also help by providing impartial advice across several plans and breakdown the process of securing expat health insurance or long-stay visa insurance in Thailand. Reach out to our team of experts by contacting us today.
His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.