Health insurance now mandatory for Non-Immigrant “O-A” Visas

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Foreigners applying for Non-Immigrant “O-A” Visas are now required to have mandatory health insurance.

Non-Immigrant “O-A” visas are available to people aged over 50 who wish to stay in Thailand for 1 year.

Starting October 1, applicants are now required to have health insurance which offers minimum coverage up to 3 million baht for inpatient care.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said health insurance policies obtain from either in Thailand or overseas are accepted, as long they meet the required coverage.

The requirement will help ensure that foreigners receive adequate medical coverage if they fall ill while staying in Thailand, Mr Sathit said.

The new mandatory insurance requirement, the news of which could well send some elderly expats or those with pre-existing conditions into a panic, likely doesn’t affect most expats staying in Thailand.

This is because most foreigners in Thailand will have a Non Immigrant O extension, which is normally based on ‘retirement’ (which is granted to those aged over 50) or based on being married to a Thai national.

Non Immigrant O extensions are obtained from an immigration office within Thailand.

A Non-Immigrant “O-A” Visa is obtained by applying at a Thai embassy or consulate overseas.

However, confusion occurs as both the Non Immigrant O and Non-Immigrant “O-A” are often and incorrectly referred to as ‘retirement visas’ – which is used as a kind of catch all term for both.

This new requirement only applies to the Non-Immigrant “O-A” Visa.