Amendment to Change Long Stay Visa in Thailand to Require Insurance Clears First Hurdle

Next year will be the fortieth anniversary that the Immigration Act 1979 was ratified in Thailand. In it, it listed a set of key factors that were required for foreigners to be approved for the one-year Non-Immigrant “O-A” visa—also known as the “Long Stay Visa”.

Now the Medical Hub Committee—a key organization in the overseeing of immigration policy in Thailand—has approved to amend the criterion through which foreigners can apply for this Long Stay Visa.

If passed, Long-Stay Visa applications will require insurance.

Medical Hub Committee representative Dr. Kittisak Klapdee—who was hand picked by the Public Health Minister of Thailand—and Tourism and Sport Vice Minister Ittipol Khunplome has spearheaded the initiative to change the requirements for a one-year, Long Stay Visa.

If this amendment to the Immigration Act 1979 takes affect, all foreigners wishing to apply for this visa will require Thai insurance policies covering the entire duration of their one-year stay. This policy will require a minimum of a 40,000 THB out-patient medical bill coverage, as well as a minimum 400,000 THB in-patient medical bill coverage.

 

THE NEXT STEP FOR THE AMENDMENT’S RATIFICATION:

All guidelines further detailing the specifics of the amendment are being formulated by a joint council comprised of representatives from the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the Public Health Ministry, the Immigration Bureau, the Office of Insurance Commission, the Thai Life Assurance Association, and the Thai General Insurance Association. Once the amendment criterion is formally articulated, it must then be approved by the Cabinet before it is deemed as formal policy.

This amendment to the criterion for the one-year Long Stay Visa is aiming to ensure the health and well-being of elderly foreigners, as well as benefiting the nation by aiding Thailand’s public and private hospitals.

The good news is that if you already have overseas insurance policy coverage that is valid in Thailand for the policy listed above do not need to get Thai insurance as well. Their current insurance will qualify them to apply for the Long Stay Visa. For those, who have comprehensive expat medical insurance valid anywhere in the world, it seems that their bets will covered.

We want to thank you for making it to the end of our article.

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Comments (25)

  • Axel Niesczeri

    Will there be insurance available in Thailand for people over sixty five years old? Because, at the moment there isn’t or what is available is very expensive.

    Reply
    • Justin Barsketis

      Hello, our insurance providers will provide benefits for life, as long as you already have a policy with them. Most of our providers stop accepting applications after 75, we have one policy though for US citizens that allows up to the age of 85. If you are over the age of 65, you should expect to pay between $150-$500 a month for insurance depending on how much coverage you get. The cost is quite substantial do to the higher risk of getting sick or injured past 65. If you are interested in a quote, please submit the form here WeExpats.com/quote

      Reply
      • William e bragg

        Please send info on coverage. Also please include exclusion list. Dont wish to waste your time or mine

        Reply
        • Justin Barsketis

          Hi William, a quote can be generated at WeExpats.com/quote. For pre-existing conditions, they are not covered. You will receive an exclusion on the policy for the condition if you have one.

          Reply
    • Robert Scott

      This is only for those with non imm O-A visas.
      NOT extension of stay to visa for retirement or marriage!!

      Reply
      • Raf Bracho

        Hello Robert, can you provide a link for this? If so, we will look into changing our content to reflect any growing understanding of the burgeoning law. Our perception is that the law is still developing, and new evidence as to what the law might reflect is slowly being released. We would love to hear more!

        Reply
  • David Barker

    So basically ex-pats, like myself, mid 70s or over, having come to Thailand to enjoy a family life and been resident for 12 years will be forced to leave the Country although they’ve always paid their hospital bills from their own pocket but now cannot afford the extremely high insurance for an older person plus keeping 800,000bht; in the bank owing to there being no neighbours with land documents as required to attend with an applicant for a marriage visa

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      David, oh dear! I’m so sorry to hear that. Remember that the amendment has yet to be fully passed, however it does look likely. You would be surprised how inexpensive insurance coverage is. Have you gotten a free quote from us? It only takes a minute, and it can give you a rough idea of what insurance might cost if the law does pass. . .

      https://weexpats.com/quote

      Reply
    • Oeyvind Pedersen

      Pink statebank when you are married givs u insurance from 2000 bath a month..

      Reply
      • HansNL

        Kindly inform me which bank that might be?

        Reply
    • ROBERT BERTRAND-RIGHI

      It looks like that mate. You will have to lock 800 kTHB in the bank, fork out a premium for insurance to meet the requirements, that should be in the range of 500/ 800 $ per month, for your age. Not including pre-existing, and having a time limit for instance 85 or 90 years of age. After that you go back to your mama. The value of your properties, would it be real estate, boats, luxury sport cars or limousines, planes even, is not taken into account. Frustrating ? I bet it is. Noticeable that s… coming from kinky health plans or goofy insurance contracts, that led to embarrassing litigations. Have a nice day…

      Reply
  • Grant dover

    Yes how much, can I pay monthly with debit card, 62.5 years old.

    Reply
  • David Topp

    I can see hell of a lot of expats over 70 who have limited income but have the required amount in the bank for their visa leaving thailand, some have been living here years. Your organisation has opened a can of worms and if you had not pushed for medical insurance because the people requesting had good finances have checked the laws passed in 1979. EXPATS income has helped the Thai economy and now if it is passed it will reduce when the Expats leave. They say thankyou

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Hello David, thank you for commenting. We appreciate your thoughts. We do agree that expats have limited funds and that it is likely this could deter some expats from retiring in Thailand.

      However, you should know that WeExpats had nothing to do with this change in the legislature. We are insurance brokers, and this article is merely put forth to help inform the public about the possibility of change in residency laws after 40 years without alteration.

      We hope this comment finds you well.

      Reply
  • Brian Bothwell

    Time has come to look at Vietnam now lot less problems getting a 5 years visa there

    Reply
    • Robert Hook

      Well said Brian, the way it’s going we’re going to go over more fences than the Grand National. Greedy people.

      Reply
  • dave peach

    Existing conditions will make me not insurable though I keep a fund to self insure…..If I have a problem in the future and use my savings… then my extension will be invalidated.
    If this becomes law then I am up the creek without a paddle and will need to relocate.

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      I am so sorry to hear that Dave! I sincerely hope that is not true, and that you are okay. 🙂

      Reply
  • Douglas Maitland

    This is simple extortion and no different than a “Protection Racket”.
    I was on the verge of getting a long-stay visa but this will cancel those plans.
    My pension and savings combined is enough to pay for anything but a catastrophic accident and, if such an accident occurs, to ship me back to England where my health care is free.
    I neither want nor do I need additional health insurance and if this law is passed I will find somewhere else to retire!

    Reply
    • Justin Barsketis

      This seems to be the plan for most people! Hopefully the Thai government does not pass the law. Normally when governments try to get involved in insurance markets, it does not work out for everyone involved.

      Reply
      • ROBERT BERTRAND-RIGHI

        Yes Justin, a large part of the problems may have occurred due to ” national health plans ” ( foreign ones ), that are not competent here, resting on foreign public law codes, but would pretend to be. Or abusive foreign insurance contracts from companies having no agreements, nor a clue, here in Thailand…

        Reply
        • Justin Barsketis

          Yikes! I could see that being an issue, it is a large world. Most of our providers are United States operated policies that are very robust and have direct pay arrangements with many hospitals and doctors in Thailand.

          Reply
  • frank Harvey

    self insured, money in the bank, late 70’s, married to Thai , non US, how could they refuse renewing my visa ?

    Reply
    • Raf Bracho

      Hopefully everything will turn out okay Frank! In the meantime, there is no guarantee that the laws will pass the Thai Senate. We hope this message finds you well.

      Reply

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