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, it’s 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. It’s 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?
The Minimum Requirements for a Thailand Retirement Visa
Unfortunately, retiring to Thailand involves a lot more than just buying a plane ticket and finding a cheap apartment. You will need to meet the requirements for entry to become approved for this very niche case.
First and foremost, you must be officially retired. This generally means over the age of 50. You must also meet a minimum annual/monthly financial requirement. Generally, this comes out to a minimum of 800,000 Baht in a bank account based in Thailand. That’s just shy of $26,000 USD.
You can also show proof that you will be able to generate a minimum of 65,000 Baht per month, or $2,100 USD. This also needs to be held in a Thai bank account, otherwise, it is not considered income to the Thai government. You should also know that this income requirement is annual, not for the rest of your life. You must have a minimum of these amounts per year to qualify for an O-A visa.
You also need to have health insurance for a retirement visa in Thailand.
The Health Coverage You Need to Retire in Thailand
The Thai government has taken steps to reduce the cost of their incurred damages from foreigners visiting their medical facilities. This is not to prevent foreigners from seeking medical treatment, but simply to protect all parties involved. It is estimated that over 100,000,000 Baht ($3.2 Million USD) has been left in outstanding unpaid medical debt in recent years.
The vast majority of this unpaid medical debt is from foreigners living in Thailand on the retirement O-A visa. This is not to point the blame at anyone, it’s simply based on the information released by the Thai government.
So, to avoid this, Thailand has announced that they will only grant these retirement visas to those who are covered by health insurance.
The minimum coverage for health insurance on an O-A visa is as follows:
- A minimum outpatient coverage amount of 40,000 Baht ($1,300 USD) is required on the policy.
- A Minimum of 400,000 Baht ($13,000 USD) is required for inpatient care.
It's important to note that this does not mean that the insurance itself needs to be specifically for retired persons. Those who are holders of expat insurance policies can also be granted an O-A visa if the policy meets the minimum requirements--more on expat insurance a bit later.
It is recommended by the Thai government that holders of these policies seek out higher than minimum coverage. This is due to the fact that medical care cost is currently on the rise within Thailand. This means that your minimum policy might not last for very long, and the regulations may change in the near future. It’s important to keep this in mind when signing up for your own policy.
It is also recommended that holders of the policy choose a policy that grants medical payout upfront. Reimbursement may lead to financial difficulties, especially in times of reduced manpower in the medical field--such as now during the COVID-19 crisis.
These are simply the recommendations provided to potential retirees to Thailand in the near future. However, so long as your minimum premiums are met on your policy, it will be enough to grant you entry into Thailand on an O-A visa!
Where to Get Retirement Health Insurance in Thailand.
The government of Thailand doesn’t expressly mandate where your medical insurance needs to come from. So long as it is an accredited insurer and can provide the coverage that is necessary for your entry into Thailand under your retirement visa. This means that you can seek out medical insurance for a retirement visa in Thailand wherever you may see fit.
Insurance for your O-A visa can come from domestic insurers as well as foreign insurers. So you should have plenty of opportunities to shop around for the best price and value for your needs and the duration of your time in Thailand. This can help to reduce costs overall if you have some options.
Medical insurance for retirement in Thailand can vary greatly in cost--as with any type of insurance. This will all depend on your medical history, current health status, coverage needed, etc. It’s always best to get multiple quotes from both foreign and domestic providers to get a general sense of what it is that you are going to need in order to pay for your own personal coverage.
All of this is pretty simple. Retiring in Thailand only requires you to have a basic income requirement met, as well as basic health insurance coverage. But, what happens if you are looking to move to Thailand before you retire? Well for that you will need expat health insurance as we hinted at above. Let’s discuss that.