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The retirement visa and mandatory health insurance in Thailand

Thailand is renowned the world over for being a popular destination for retirees. The country ticks many if not all the boxes on a retiree’s wish list. In fact, retirees have access to gorgeous beaches, top healthcare services, traditional and modern Thai gastronomy, vibrant culture, and much more!

So if you are 50 and above, then you’ll be pleased to know that the country offers a special type of retirement visa, which is great if you want to call Thailand your new home. In this article by Pacific Prime Thailand, we look specifically at what the retirement visa is and touch on the country’s mandatory health insurance.

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What is a retirement visa?

In Thailand, a retirement visa is also known as a non-immigrant O-A long-stay visa. It is a type of visa that is designed for expat retirees planning to live in the country long term. The visa can be valid either for single entry or multiple entries, which lasts for a year. Before the end of the full year, you can renew your visa at your local immigration office in Thailand.

The process of applying is really straight-forward and simple, however, there are strict requirements that you must meet to successfully be granted an “OA” long-stay visa. In the next section, we discuss the requirements and qualifications you must meet.

How do you qualify for an O-A long-stay visa?

Being a retiree means you must be aged 50 years or above and meet any one of the three financial requirements shown below:

  1. A bank/security deposit of THB ฿800,000 in a Thai bank account for at least 2-3 months prior to the visa application.
  2. Monthly Income of THB ฿65,000 THB going back at least 3 months.
  3. Combination of a security deposit and annual income with a total of THB ฿800,000.

Other important requirements to meet:

  • You must not have a criminal record in any country or have been barred from traveling to Thailand.
  • You must not have any of the following diseases: Leprosy, Tuberculosis, Elephantiasis, Addiction (Drug/Alcoholism), or Third Phase Syphilis.
  • Confirmed in 2019, you must also be insured with Thai health insurance for the duration of stay with annual coverage of at least THB ฿40,000 for outpatient treatment and at least THB ฿400,000 for inpatient treatment.

Take note: Health insurance has to be with one of the approved companies from the Thai General Insurance Association.

There’s also another type of visa available for those that would want to avoid going back every year to renew their O-A visa. This alternative retirement visa is known as the non-immigrant O-X long-stay visa. It is similar to the O-A visa but the financial requirements are much higher. For more information on this, our previous article, “Long-stay visa and private health insurance in Thailand”, covers what you need to know.

Take note: The above details are correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change and may not reflect the current requirements at the time of reading. If you are concerned or would like more information, you can contact Pacific Prime Thailand’s experts who can assist by providing the latest details, support, and more.

Mandatory health insurance in Thailand

“Due to recent legislation regarding non-immigrant O-A and O-X visas, Thailand’s insurance market has witnessed an upsurge in long-stay visa plans.” – Pacific Prime Thailand

As reported in Pacific Prime’s 2019-2020 State of Health Insurance Report, it has been mandatory to secure health insurance for all retirees planning their retirement in Thailand. From what Pacific Prime Thailand has observed over the last few years, Thai authorities now require retirees to secure health insurance to ensure they can pay high medical costs that come with treating a retiree, especially one with pre-existing conditions. The cost of healthcare can easily add up to hundreds of thousands of Thai baht and many retirees may struggle to pay upfront as most may be drawing from their pension funds from abroad like in the UK or US. Paying out-of-pocket may not be an option for many.

As well as avoiding paying out-of-pocket, a private health insurance plan grants policyholders access to the many excellent healthcare facilities located around the country. The thought of any retiree waiting for hours at an average public hospital and not understanding what is going on, due to a language barrier, could result in frustration and make retiring in Thailand an unattractive option.

However, that’s not to say all public hospitals are average or below standards. In fact, there are many top public hospitals in the country like Siriraj hospital and Chulalongkorn hospital in Bangkok, but due to their popularity and reputation, you are likely to face even longer wait times and find many Thais queuing for appointments. Hence why securing a private health insurance plan can give you direct access to highly qualified staff, excellent customer service, effective treatment plans, support, and more. You won’t have to wait as long to see a doctor like in public hospitals.

For more information on public and private hospitals, you can download our Public vs Private Healthcare in Bangkok Guide. The guide compares public and private healthcare in Bangkok and can help you better understand the healthcare system offered.

Get impartial advice on securing your ideal health insurance plan

We hope after reading this article you have gained at least an insight into the retirement visa and mandatory health insurance. Ideally, we would encourage you to get in touch with our advisors who are themselves a mix of expats and locals. Our collective experience, understanding, and research mean we can give you the optimal level of knowledge and service.

Contact us today for impartial insurance advice, an obligation-free quote, and plan comparison or head to our Health Insurance for Retirees in Thailand page for more details.

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Content Creator at Pacific Prime Thailand
Jimmy is a content writer who helps simplify insurance for readers interested in international private medical insurance. He is on a mission in Thailand to support locals, expatriates, and businesses by bring the latest news and updates to his Pacific Prime blog articles.

His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.