Mandatory health insurance

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Gaybutton
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Mandatory health insurance

Post by Gaybutton » Tue May 14, 2019 7:37 am

According to this article, health insurance is now mandatory for "Long-Stay" visas. Meanwhile, I just renewed my retirement visa Friday, May 10. There was no mention of health insurance.

I'm not sure this actually would apply to most of us living in Thailand on the 1-year retirement visa. To the best of my knowledge, "Long-Stay" visas are different. Even if this does not apply to most of us, the handwriting is on the wall. I expect sooner or later it will be mandatory for the retirement visa.

See: http://www.consular.go.th/main/th/other ... ears).html

More confusion . . .

Unless someone is independently wealthy and can pay for medical care out of pocket, I don't understand why anyone would want to live in Thailand, or anywhere else for that matter, without health insurance, especially if they fall within the retirement visa age bracket. None of us are getting any younger.

I have been recommending Cigna Global for health insurance. It is excellent and they pay the hospital directly. Other than your deductible, you don't have to lay out any money at all and then wait for reimbursement.

If you are interested, see: https://www.cignaglobal.com/
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Insurance mandatory for long-stay foreigners

May 14, 2019

By The Nation

Health insurance has been made mandatory for foreigners aged 50 years and above seeking long-term stay in Thailand.

The insurance policy must offer up to Bt40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and up to Bt400,000 for inpatient treatment.

This is one of the measures the government has introduced to ease the financial burden placed on state hospitals by foreigners, many of whom have not paid for treatment.

“The Cabinet has already approved the new rule,” Health Service Support Department director-general Nattawuth Prasert-siripong revealed yesterday.

According to Nattawuth, the new rule applies to both new applicants for the non-immigrant visa (O-A), which offers a stay of up to one year, and those wishing to renew their visa. Each renewal is valid for one year.

Overseas policies okay too

“Such health insurance is good for foreigners too,” Nattawuth said.

Foreigners can buy valid health insurance from https://longstay.tgia.org/ or if they wish to use health insurance that they bought overseas, they must ensure that the coverage amount is no less than what is required by the rule. “We are going to discuss with relevant authorities on to how to check the validity of health insurance bought from overseas,” Nattawuth said.

Asked about foreigners who cannot buy health insurance because their health risks are considered too high, Nattawuth said relevant authorities might consider requiring them to have higher deposits in bank accounts so as to make sure that they have enough to live in Thailand.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/ ... l/30369323

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by Jogger » Tue May 14, 2019 8:18 am

"According to Nattawuth, the new rule applies to both new applicants for the non-immigrant visa (O-A), which offers a stay of up to one year, and those wishing to renew their visa"

My understanding is this applies to those of us on retirement visa extensions.

Whether is was mentioned or not when doing a recent visa renewal is irrelevant.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by Gaybutton » Tue May 14, 2019 8:45 am

Jogger wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 8:18 am
My understanding is this applies to those of us on retirement visa extensions.

Whether is was mentioned or not when doing a recent visa renewal is irrelevant.
The very fact that neither I nor anyone else applying for the retirement visa was asked about health insurance, in my opinion makes it highly relevant.

The question is which is it? Are they requiring it or not? If they are, then why is nobody being asked to produce evidence of health insurance when applying for the retirement visa?

I can understand why Thailand would want to require health insurance to cover inpatient medical care, but requiring outpatient coverage seems absurd to me considering the amount of money necessary to be eligible for the retirement visa in the first place. At current exchange rates, 40,000 baht is equivalent to US $1270.

Oh well, a long time ago I gave up trying to make sense out of far more than just that around here.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by 2lz2p » Tue May 14, 2019 8:54 am

I agree with Jogger - whether you entered on an O-A Visa (often called a "retirement" visa or "long stay" visa), when your stay using that visa expires, you need to apply at Thai Immigration for a one year extension based on retirement. As I read the article, it does appear that it will apply to anyone applying for a one year extension of stay based on retirement whether you entered on an "O-A" visa or an "O" Visa (the "O" visa is what you get if you entered on visa exempt (30 day permitted stay) or Tourist Visa (60 day permitted stay).

I know a few folks retired here that this will come as "bad news" as they do not have health insurance that covers them in Thailand. Not sure how that would impact on those that do get insurance as a result of this soon to be new requirement and have "exclusions" because of pre-existing conditions.

Myself, I am fortunate to have health insurance that covers me here in Thailand and also can be direct billed by Bangkok Hospital Pattaya - especially since my most recent stay in BHP was 5+ weeks with 4 of them in ICU - the bill submitted to my Insurance was 2.2 million baht - had I been paying direct, it would probably have been about 1.7 million baht (this is based on the difference I've noted in cost on some items included in my inpatient bill vs outpatient bill which I usually pay myself and claim reimbursement).

My big concern with this new requirement will be what will be required as proof at Immigration -- Immigration Officers certainly will be inconsistent with what they will or will not accept - just look at the implementation of the new rules governing retirement extensions. Oh well! Another bridge to cross when I get to it.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by Gaybutton » Tue May 14, 2019 9:38 am

2lz2p wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 8:54 am
As I read the article, it does appear that it will apply to anyone applying for a one year extension of stay based on retirement
I don't disagree, but again I don't understand why I was not asked to produce anything about health insurance. Insurance was not even mentioned.

Maybe they just assume that people applying using the 800,000 baht method have money enough to take care of themselves, or maybe immigration officers are not yet aware of this, or who knows what. All I know is I was not asked and so far I don't know of anybody who was asked.

It will be interesting to see if and when they do start asking, along with what they want people to show as evidence.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by Jogger » Tue May 14, 2019 10:05 am

“The Cabinet has already approved the new rule,” Health Service Support Department director-general Nattawuth Prasert-siripong revealed yesterday.

Which means it not yet the law and until it is no insurance needed;hence my point about irrelevance. No one will be asked to prove Insurance until the cabinet approval is legislated.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by fountainhall » Tue May 14, 2019 10:25 am

I am not against the basic principle that retirees and long-term stayers should have medical insurance. It is, in my view, unreasonable to expect others to pay if you are ill.

On the other hand, I reckon this is yet another instance where the government has opened a nasty little pandora's box for the simple reason it has just not thought this through. It sounds like a basic idea that some bright spark thought up.

So outpatient insurance will now be necessary. How many here on retirement visas opted out of the outpatient part of their policy because such insurance is over-expensive? I opted out because on average I spend far less on an annual basis than Bt. 40,000. In any case I have a deductible that makes the cost of outpatient insurance such that I would have to use up all the deductable and still not see one Baht back.

How many are on a co-pay type of policy where the individual pays 20% or more of in-patient treatment? If the government is going to offer insurance at an affordable price, will that cover pre-existing conditions? Will it cover eyesight and dental?

How on earth are immigration officers going to vet the detail of overseas policies which will likely only be in English - or might even be in Hungarian?

I can see where this is leading. Unless one has a policy with the specific limits required by the government, those opting for the Bt. 800,000 route will additionally be expected to keep yet another large dollop of cash in an account for medical bills. Those on the Bt. 65,000 route may well soon find that rise.

It would not have required a university degree to have built far more detailed medical insurance requirements into the entire Immigration revamp last year. Now we have yet another typical Thai fuck-up. I'll bet no-one will take overall responsibility for it and if you want to find out more detail, you will be passed from department to department - and get nowhere, if only because no one will have a clue what you are talking about.

Although this is not yet policy, if I were younger and beginning to consider where to retire, Thailand would no longer be on my list.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by Jogger » Tue May 14, 2019 10:54 am

Good news!

It it being categorically stated on ThaiVisa forum that this new rule only applies to OA applications to the Thai Embassy in their home countries.

So GB was correct initially.

And that this new rule needs only an order from the ministry of affairs and not needing new legislation.

Perhaps someone can post the link here as I am using my tablet since I cannot get onto this forum via my PC.

If ThaiVisa is correct I aplogise for suggesting otherwise.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by 2lz2p » Tue May 14, 2019 12:33 pm

Jogger wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 10:54 am
Good news!

It it being categorically stated on thai visa forum that this new rule only applies to OA applications to the Thai Embassy in their home countries.
So GB was correct initially.
And that this new rule needs only an order from the ministry of affairs and not needing new legislation.
Peerhaps some one can post the link here as i am using my tablet since i cannot get onto this forum via my Pc.
If thai visa is correct i aplogise for suggesting otherwise.
This morning I tried to add another comment, but kept getting the often received SQL error message in both my browsers (Firefox & Chrome) - so, hopefully, I can post this without problem.

Will it apply to all retirement renewals in the future - maybe yes, maybe no. I haven't seen the Thaivisa postings, BUT I wouldn't take them as they say "to the bank." On Thaivisa you get both information, misinformation, conjecture, and wishful thinking.

As mentioned, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs could impose the requirement for those applying at Embassies/Consulates for the O-A Visa as they now do for the O-X (so called 10 year visa) Visa. With the O-A visa, you get a permission to stay of one year, whereas the O Visa allows a 90 day permission to stay. When the permitted to stay date expires, applying for a one year extension of stay is determined by the Ministry of Interior (Immigration Bureau) under their rules. At present, Immigration has not revised their rules to include a health insurance requirement, thus no one presently renewing as GB did would need to meet such a requirement. Before that happens, Immigration will have to be involved - will they want the additional burden? Who knows, but unless they are ordered to do it, I'm sure the usual committee(s) will be established and any final decision and rule change will be somewhere down the road.

So, no need to panic at this time. It could happen, then again, it may never happen.

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Re: Mandatory health insurance

Post by Gaybutton » Tue May 14, 2019 1:13 pm

Jogger wrote:
Tue May 14, 2019 10:54 am
Perhaps someone can post the link
I looked for it, but I can't find anything other than the same article I posted and comments by people bitching about it.

No need to apologize. As usual, just about anything that comes out about our visas is very confusing, such as this latest one. If this rule applies only to home countries and not people already residing in Thailand and renewing in Thailand, wouldn't you think whoever wrote that article would have had sense enough to explain that? The article says nothing about that and doesn't even hint about that. Assuming Jogger has it right, then all the article did was once again needlessly upset people.

One of the companies listed in the https://longstay.tgia.org/ link is the Viriyah insurance company. I was their office just this morning paying my car insurance premium, which I have with Viriyah. While I was there I asked about buying a 40,000 baht outpatient policy. They checked and told me they will sell that insurance only if you are age 60 or below. Since it is retired foreigners who would need this insurance, and so many of us are well past 60, and the article makes it seem like the link lists insurance companies that will sell health insurance to farang retirees, obviously there might be problems if indeed we will eventually be required to carry outpatient insurance, but no Thai insurance companies will sell it.

Another Catch-22. I haven't checked with other Thai insurance companies, but how many people retire under age 60? And if eligibility for it stops at age 60 with all the Thai insurance companies, great! You can have Thai outpatient insurance between ages 50-60 - the retirement years when you are least likely to need it.

If Thailand wants us all to carry outpatient insurance as well as inpatient insurance, then my logic tells me they would pass legislation that requires Thai insurance companies to sell those policies regardless of age. Three guesses whether that will ever happen. Apparently age discrimination is well entrenched in Thailand.

If it comes to that, since they are talking about 40,000 baht worth of outpatient insurance, but nobody will sell it to us, then my GUESS is they will require 40,000 baht kept untouched in a Thai bank account, just as they're doing with the 800,000 baht.

We'll see. Thailand doesn't seem to mind grandfathering in (no pun intended) new rules . . .

I have no objection to new rules provided the rules are actually possible for us to comply with.

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