Thai Retirement Insurance: Does It Apply To Visa Extensions
Translation of the above video:
As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Retirement Visas and specifically the insurance that has been announced will be required for Retirement Visas in the near future.
Now the first thing to take away from this video, just as a preface. We are not aware of exactly what the regulatory structure looks like for the Retirement Visa insurance so all of this to some degree is speculation. That being said it is based on some rather deep research on my part and it also results from translations of announcements directly from the Ministry of Public Health here in Thailand.
That being stated, as the preface to this video stipulated, we do not yet know exactly what these regulations are going to look like until they are actually promulgated. So we will make another video on this topic as soon as that transpires.
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Health Insurance For Retirement Visa In Thailand
Thailand is one of the most beloved and sought-after destinations for pensioners seeking retirement. With its tropical climate, delicious cuisine, historical significance, and low cost of living, its a paradise! But, much like is the case for those who are looking to enter Thailand under any other circumstance, you are going to have to have a retirement visa!
A Thai retirement visa, otherwise known as the Non-Immigrant O and Non-Immigrant O-A visa, are specifically for those who will be spending their retirement in the Kingdom of Thailand. This visa allows retirees to live out the duration of their visa within Thailand without the need for a job, a familial tie, or acceptance into a university. Its essentially a prolonged tourist visa for retired adults!
One caveat to the retirement visa for Thailand is that insurance is required as of 2019. This was one of the first laws put into place that led to a wave across Thailand enforcing health insurance for travelers to the country. Health insurance for retirement visas is a must these days! So, what exactly does this all entail?
Dutchmans Case Dismissed By The Administrative Court After He Challenged 2019 Tiered Pricing Order
A the end of September, a 52-year old Dutch man suffering from cancer, Erwin Buse, living in Prachuap Khiri Khan, had a case rejected by the Administrative Court in his area which challenged a 2019 government order which included tiered pricing for medical services and treatment which left foreigners living in Thailand with marriage and retirement visas paying substantially more than Thai nationals or even foreigners with non- Immigrant B visas.
They essentially had the same status as tourists.
The court justified its decision to dismiss Mr Buses case based on the national interest and assumed that foreigners living in Thailand had the means to pay for private health insurance or medical treatment.
Erwin Buse, who is married to his Thai wife for twenty years and has lived in Thailand since 2005, currently has the option of a marriage visa but if the medical insurance requirement is extended to this visa type or others, it would pose a major problem for him and to tens of thousands of other retired foreigners in Thailand, many of whom also have underlying conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.
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How To Extend Your Visa
When your visa is about to expire, youll need to renew it at any of the immigration offices in Thailand. The process is the same as when you first applied. But you should start your renewal process about 15 days before your visa expires. This will give you plenty of time for adjustments if Thai Immigration asks for more documents.
If you want to renew your visa outside of Thailand, you can re-apply at the nearest Thai Embassy.
Eligibility For A Thailand Retirement Visa O
To be eligible for a Thailand Retirement Visa, you must fulfill the following criteria:
- You must be at least 50 years of age on the day you submit your application
- You must fulfill the financial requirements:
- A security deposit of 800,000 Thai Baht in a bank account in Thailand for 2 months before the visa application
- A monthly income of 65,000 Thai Baht
- A combination of the security deposit and annual income of 800,000 Thai Baht
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Get Professional Advice From An Established Insurance Broker
We understand it is not easy to get your head around obscure insurance terms and conditions, which is why our motto is to simplify insurance. With over 19 years of experience and nine offices across the world, our team of experts at Pacific Prime Thailand is on hand to guide you through every step of your insurance journey. Contact us today for impartial insurance advice, an obligation-free quote, and a plan comparison.
Why Is Health Insurance Suddenly Required
The Thai government claims that the new health insurance rule was introduced because of the increasing number of unpaid medical bills from expats living in Thailand.
In 2018, 680,000 out of 3,420,000 expats who visited the hospital didnt pay their bills. The total unpaid amount was estimated at 305 million baht.
The majority of unpaid bills were from retirees.
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Types Of Thailand Retirement Visas
The Thai government issues two types of retirement visas for foreign nationals:
- The One-Year Thailand Retirement Visa , which is issued to foreigners aged 50+ of all countries and is valid for 1 year with the option to renew annually.
- The Ten-Year Thailand Retirement Visa , which is only issued to foreigners aged 50+ from certain countries for 5 years duration. It is renewable once more for a maximum of 10 years.
In either case, a Retirement Visa for Thailand does not allow the holder to work.
This article will detail the process and requirements for obtaining a Thailand Retirement Visa for those who want to retire in the Land of Smiles.
Long Term Validity Of The Visa Brings Certainty And Peace Ofmind
Retirement visas only have a 1-year validity period. This meansthat every single year, the applicant has to visit the immigrationdepartment to renew the visa and to go through the hurdles againand again, from digging up documentation to being interviewed byimmigration officers. Not only does this inconvenience and spoilsones retirement which is meant to be stress free but, it means thatevery year the applicant is in the uncomfortable position ofwondering if the visa will indeed be renewed or if they will haveto go back to their home country. This will also mean annual extracosts.
On the other hand, the Thailand Elite membership have a validityperiod between 5 and 20 years, depending on the specific sub-schemethe applicant signs up for. While the visa validity is of a year,the visa will automatically be extended for another year each timea member exit and re-enter the Kingdom of Thailand and so untilexpiration of the membership. This means that members will enjoylong term peace of mind, free from burdensome administrative dutieswith the freedom to travel around the globe without having to worryabout being physically in Thailand every year to renew their visa.In case a member stayed in Thailand for a period of over a year, avisa renewal at a Thai immigration office will be necessary. AllElite packages include the assistance of an Elite PersonalAssistant for the first renewal which ensures a smooth and easyprocessing.
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Hospital Care And Insurance
Another big question when we talk to new residents is about ensuring they are going to be well looked after if anything happens. We have partnered with a global insurance company to offer excellent rates as well as being located very near a fantastic international grade hospital.
If you didnât realise already, Thailand is home to some of the worldâs very best hospitals, you can say goodbye to waiting lists for tests on popular machines. Welcome to a life where you are treated at the hospital like a VIP.
This is a world away from what most people experience in their home countries.
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Documents Needed For A Thailand Retirement Visa Application
When you apply for a Thailand Retirement Visa, you need several documents to support your application. This includes:
- Your passport, which is valid for at least six more months and has at least one blank vis page. If youre applying for a one-year visa, your passport should be valid for at least another 18 months.
- Completed and signed Visa Application Form, which can be downloaded from the Embassy or Consulates website or you can pick it up when you submit your application in person.
- Additional Retirement Visa Application Form
- Passport-sized picture of yourself, with the following specifications:
- White background
- Taken within the last six months
- You must have a neutral facial expression, staring straight ahead
- Your entire face must be fully visible
- Headgear is only allowed for religious purposes and even then, only if it does not cover the face
- Glasses are allowed only if they do not cover your eyes and do not have heavy frames
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Changes Made By The Cabinet In June Following Problems Encountered By Many Elderly Foreigners
In June this year, the cabinet made changes to the regulations to allow foreigners living in Thailand to purchase insurance policies outside Thailand to meet this requirement.
It had emerged that a significant number of elderly people had been forced to leave the country after living here for many years when they could not obtain the appropriate insurance cover from Thai insurers to comply with Immigration Bureau regulations.
There were also cases that arose due to the pandemic when many long term residents could not return to the country to renew their retirement visas.
The 2019 regulation requiring health insurance for both Non-Immigrant O-A and Non-Immigrant O retirement visas had specified that the insurance cover must be taken out through firms in Thailand.
Why Use A Professional Visa Company
Applying for a visa in any country can be stressful, and with a Thai Retirement Visa, there is the potential for individuals to be denied an extended stay in Thailand. At Thai Visa Expert, we will ensure that you have all the correct paperwork and can liaise with immigration officials on your behalf. We have an established and trusted professional relationship with Thai Immigration and know what is currently required, thus increasing your chances of your visa being accepted the first time.
Mandatory Health Insurance In Thailand
Due to recent legislation regarding non-immigrant O-A and O-X visas, Thailands insurance market has witnessed an upsurge in long-stay visa plans. Pacific Prime Thailand
As reported in Pacific Primes 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.
Shopping & Other Services
One of the great benefits of living in Thailand is absolutely great delivery services and online shopping. We can setup the apps on your phone that help you order food and groceries from the top delivery services available. And also setup shopping apps like Lazada so you can easily buy items online. Finally, if you need to find something local, you can just ask us and we will get the perfect resources for you. We’ll even setup a water delivery service for your home.
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Health Insurance For Foreigners In Thailand
There are several reasons why medical insurance for foreigners in Thailand is not just a good idea but a crucial matter to consider for several reasons. Even though hospital treatment is cheap in Thailand by Western, particularly American standards, any serious inpatient treatment such as surgery or cancer treatments, for example, can be painfully expensive at a top-notch hospital and can swiftly put a huge strain on your finances. Also, retired expats now need to show health insurance documentation to be eligible for their yearly retirement extensions, so lets take a look at some of the key points to consider when choosing a policy.
Working And Volunteering In Thailand
If you plan to:
- conduct business or investment activities
you must apply for a non-immigrant visa at a Royal Thai embassy and, once you have this, a work permit.
You should make arrangements through your employer or volunteer organisation and ask your nearest Royal Thai embassy for advice and information.
Your volunteering organisation must be legally registered with the Thai Ministry of Commerce. You will need a recommendation letter from the volunteer organisation for your visa application and the work permit.
You should get your UK educational certificates legalised before you leave the UK.
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How To Obtain Your Policy
If youre in Thailand already, the easiest option is to go to an insurance broker and have them do all the legwork for you, ring ahead to make an appointment, and find out what documents they want to see. There are insurance brokers in every Thai town and if you are in an area popular with tourists and expats it should be easy to find one that speaks English. Alternatively, you can look at the websites for the above companies and use their online tool to obtain a quote after entering your details and choose the provider which offers the best value. Be careful when choosing your policy and dont just automatically go for the cheapest, take care to examine the fine print, particularly the exclusions. Another important point to consider is the insurers reputation, as many will do their utmost to avoid paying any claim, legitimate or not. Its now fairly easy to research the companies with online review sites being very popular.
Health Insurance Requirements For Retirees
If youre wondering if there are health insurance requirements for retirees, the answer is both yes and no. Confused? Youre not alone. Lets break down the following two visas for retirees: Non-immigrant O-A and Non-immigrant O extension. While there are different requirements for these two visas, including those on health insurance, they often get lumped together inaccurately as retirement visas in Thailand and thats where the confusion lies.
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How Much Do I Have To Pay
Health insurance premiums depend on your age, pre-existing conditions, coverage amount, and coverage area.
Normally, health insurance for those who are older than 50 years old tends to be expensive. You could end up paying more than 100,000 baht for a single health insurance plan.
However, there are also new plans that just recently came out to satisfy the new visa requirements. The plans come with 400,000 baht coverage for IPD and 40,000 baht coverage for OPD and may cost less than 10,000 baht a year.
Please note that these plans come with a very high deductible of more than 200,000 baht. You would need to pay the chosen deductible amount before the insurance company would pay you.
Where Can I Apply For A Thailand Retirement Visa Outside Thailand
If you meet the Thailand Retirement Visa requirements outlined below, you can apply for the visa at the Royal Thai Embassy or Thai Consulate in your home country before you travel. Alternatively, and something that is becoming increasingly popular with those turning retirement age whilst in the Kingdom, is to apply at the Thai Embassy or consulate in one of Thailands neighbouring countries such as Laos, Myanmar or Cambodia.
The first Retirement Visa for Thailand that will be issued will be a Single-Entry Non-Immigrant O Visa which will be valid for 90 days. During this initial 90-day period, the applicant can apply for a Thai Retirement Visa renewal at their nearest Royal Thai Immigration Department, which for most people in Bangkok is at Chaeng Wattana. The Thai Immigration will then issue a Retirement Visa, granting an extension of stay for up to 12 months. Although the new visa will again only be a single-entry visa, it is possible to apply for a re-entry permit , which will allow you to re-enter without needing to renew your Retirement Visa for Thailand.
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