Ricky Batten

Should you consider private health insurance for an elderly family member when moving to Thailand?

Taking Thailand's new health insurance laws into consideration

Thailand is an amazing place for foreigners to move to. Being here for three years myself, I know first hand that moving here is one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. 

It’s a nice place to live, the sun is great, the cost of living is low, the food and culture defy description, and most importantly the people are very nice. Retiring here would be ideal for any foreigner looking to relax. 

Thailand’s mandatory insurance law

It's important to bear in mind, however, that as of May 2019, the government has passed a bill that every long-stay visa foreigner entering the country, or on the verge of renewing their visa, must have health insurance. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post I made on Ajarn, there are two types of long-stay visas: “O-A” long-stay visa and “O-X” long-stay visa. I gave a summary of both in my previous post, but here’s a quick recap:

The O-A long stay visa:

No limitations on nationality

One year duration

Annual renewal

Financial Requirements

800,000 Baht in the bank

Or have an income certificate

Or property deed with an equivalent amount

The O-X long stay visa:

Nationals and passport holders of the 14 following nations: France, Japan, the Netherlands, UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, Australia, and Norway

10-year duration

Renewal every 5 years

Financial requirements

Bank deposit of a minimum of 3 million baht 

Or bank deposit of a minimum of 1.8 million baht and an annual income of at least 1.2 million baht

The deposit must be left in the bank for at least one year and a minimum of 1.5 million must always remain in the account. 

Free to leave and re-enter as many times as you want within the 5-year period

Therefore, those planning to move to Thailand with an elderly member in the family will have to take the new policy into consideration. The mandatory health insurance law also comes with stipulations that must be met. 

The health insurance policy must cover 40,000 Baht for outpatient care and 400,000 Baht for inpatient care. The rule applies to everyone above fifty. For those with health risks deemed too high to get insured, the individual will be required to make a higher deposit in their bank account. This is done so authorities can be assured that if need be, the payment can be completed. 

Getting insurance for an elder

I know it is difficult to get insurance for an elderly person, due to the requirement of paying higher premiums. Another point to note here is that, the older you get, the more likely you are to develop conditions requiring ongoing care. These are considered pre-existing conditions when you apply for a new policy. 

However, it is important and also a legal requirement for foreigners aged 50 to get health insurance in Thailand. People in the latter stage of their life are more susceptible to contracting diseases and flu, therefore health insurance is essential. And in today's world, there are some pretty good plans out there for the elderly; you can check out Pacific Prime Thailand’s website where you will get some expert advice and a free quote to go with it.  

Also as mentioned in the paragraphs above, international health insurance is also accepted. This way you will be covered all over the world, thus allowing for the most comprehensive protection. 

Reasons for the change in rules and things to consider

So why has this amendment been passed? Well, according to the Health Service Support Department, there have been cases where long-term visa foreigners have failed to pay for their medical services before returning to their country, thus leaving hospitals in debt

So what should you take into consideration now that the rules have changed? 

In most cases, pre-existing conditions will not be covered. There are, however, certain situations where pre-existing conditions can be covered, but you'll usually need to pay an extra premium or agree to a waiting period. 

Check to see whether the plan you have picked is renewable for life. 

All this information may be overwhelming and leave you in confusion, but there's no need to worry as there are experts at hand. Contact me or my team of health insurance experts at Pacific Prime Thailand for valuable advice and allows us to simplify insurance policies for you. 

You can email me at ajarn@pacificprime.co.th


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