The law that came into force on November 1st has caused quite a bit of confusion, not only amongst the foreigners living here but also at the various immigration offices in Thailand. The latter still do not act uniformly (for example: some immigration offices do not ask for the mandatory health insurance at all or foreign policies are accepted for renewals) but in general we can now say that the obligation to have health insurance with one of the approved Thai Companies applies to:
1. Anyone applying for a NON OA visa at a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad (for example in the Netherlands or in Belgium);
2. Anyone applying for an Extension of Stay within Thailand where this Extension of Stay is based on an initial NON OA visa.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:
In principle, a foreign policy is accepted when one applies for a Non-OA visa for the very first time at a Thai Embassy or Consulate abroad. The foreign policy will have to meet the minimum requirements (400.000 Baht coverage for Inpatient and 40.000 Baht coverage for Outpatient). The foreign insurer will have to sign the standard form for foreign insurers.
I have been in Thailand for years and applied for my very first visa abroad.
In the following years I have arranged my extension of stay in Thailand.
Does this new law apply to me?
If the Visa applied for abroad is marked with the letters “O A” then the insurance obligation indeed applies. The "extension of Stay" stamps for the NON O and the NON OA look the same so from the stamp itself you cannot tell. When in doubt, it is wise to check with immigration.
I have never applied for a visa abroad. From the start, all has been arranged in Thailand.
Does the insurance obligation apply to me?
No. No NON OA visas are issued within Thailand, only NON O.
I have a NON O "marriage", "education" or "Business" visa.
Does the insurance obligation apply to me?
Yes, that's possible. In principle, one must then leave the country (border run) without a re-entry permit and return with a Visa Exemption (Tourist). This is valid for 30 days. The application for a NON O can then be started within Thailand. When applying for an NON O, your Visa needs to be valid for at least another 15 days.
The legislator has not yet provided for this. The only solution at the moment is therefore to convert it into a NON O visa.
This is also not yet officially provided for. Convert to NON O or simply lie on the medical questionnaire that accompanies the application form. Please note: this makes the policy unusable and therefore you cannot claim under the insurance. Thai companies can cancel the policy with immediate effect if they find out that something has not been reported. Without claiming, they will not find out.
Can I apply for a Thai policy and cancel it immediately after my visa has been
extended to get the premium back?
There is a central database where companies can upload the insurance certificates. Immigration has access to this. Without the insurance the visa immediately becomes invalid.
No. It is better than nothing, but the minimum coverage is way too low in the event of a serious accident or illness.
I have a good foreign insurance policy with high coverage and I would like to keep
this in place. Is this possible?
It is not a problem to hold 2 policies. Please do check the general terms and conditions) as some companies do have to report this. It is advisable to check if a deductible can be taken out to lower the premium of your foreign insurance. The Thai insurance policy can then be taken in addition to your foreign policy and be used to cover the deductible of the foreign policy.
Someone recently posted that it was best to request the all the information via us and to then purchase the policy directly from the insurance company as this would be cheaper. This is utter nonsense: whether you purchase the policy via AA Insurance Broke or with the insurance company the premiums are always the same. We can assist you with the communication and the claim handling and can assist you in either English, German, Dutch and Thai. Insurance can be complicated so being able to communicate in your mother tongue is a major plus and can also help to prevent misunderstandings. Please take advantage of us as your broker and let us do the work for you.
I think the coverage of this compulsory health insurance is too low.
Can I also take a higher coverage plan?
Yes, you can. As long as it is a plan of 1 of the approved companies, this is perfectly ok.
It is also possible to take the Thailand Elite Card. We are also an intermediary for Thailand Elite. Unfortunately, it knows a 500,000 Baht price tag for a 5 year multiple entry visa.
We have a negative view on the new regulations as it brings too many people into trouble. There is nothing wrong with compulsory health but then there should also be an obligation of the insurance companies to actually accept you. It would have been better if the Universal Health Scheme (the so-called 30 baht scheme) had also been made compulsory for foreigners living here for a certain fee/premium. In the appendices you will find an overview of the most commonly used approved plans with the premiums per age. All available through AA Insurance Brokers