New rules to support Covid health insurance for long-stay expats

TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2021

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved in principle new rules to support health insurance for long-stay foreigners under the Non-Immigrant “O-A” visa.

The old rules required purchasing Thai health insurance through the website, which has suffered operating problems. The new rules offer a lifeline for expats over the age of 70 who cannot purchase insurance in Thailand and thus face having their applications for extension of stay rejected.

The new rules were set out as follows:

1. The first visa application must include health insurance or government welfare with minimum coverage of $100,000 or 3 million baht for medical expenses and treatment of Covid-19.

2. Applications for extension of stay can use health insurance from abroad or government welfare from abroad. This must be certified by a relevant government agency, such as a foreign embassy in Thailand or the country’s Foreign Ministry.

3. If an insurer refuses coverage due to health risks, visa applicants must submit additional documents including the letter of refusal, plus securities, deposits and other health insurance accounting for at least 3 million baht.

The Cabinet assigned the Immigration Bureau to improve rules and conditions governing applications for short-term visas, while the Foreign Ministry has been tasked with upgrading guidelines for O-A visa applications.