New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

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Dodger
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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by Dodger » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:28 am

puan wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:59 pm
It is a windfall for the insurance companies. A captive customer base. Big baht to be made.
I agree with your comments 100%.

If you do a little research., you will see that the few Thai insurance companies that are "approved" to offer this insurance are owned and operated by some of the wealthiest families in Thailand, some of which never even sold health insurance before. No more words are needed.

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Bob
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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by Bob » Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:14 am

The whole premise of the requirement is likely baloney. First, they say that Thai hospitals "lost" 16 million dollars to "foreigners" who received treatment and didn't pay for it. Well, who are these "foreigners" they are talking about? Include the Burmese, Laos, Cambodians (if so, well they outnumber us westerners by about 50 to 1 or more). The odds (my opinion) of the O-A people (people who need to show a police report, medical certificate, and demonstrate funds in the bank in their home countries) being any significant portion of those who don't pay are slim to none.

And they claim that all the Thai hospitals "lost" a total of 16 million dollars??? Considering what we expats pay and what medical tourists pay (with, of course, the blessing of the Thai government for even the private hospitals to charge foreigners much more than locals).....which is likely a billion or more US dollars, their claimed loss is peanuts.
Simply a laughable premise to all of this.

[Would note that the Thai police order/article has an url that leads you to 9-12 different insurance companies that supposedly provide the so-called "long-term-stay" health insurance that qualifies for their new scheme. I clicked on all the urls and found at least a few of the insurance company websites were reasonably legible in English; however, from my brief review, only one allowed health insurance for somebody 75 or older (provided you had insurance with them from age 70 or prior) and it would appear that nobody over 70 is ever going to get an O-A visa again as they wouldn't qualify under any of the plans I briefly reviewed. Brilliant! (not)]

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by 2lz2p » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:12 am

Gaybutton wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:17 am
travelerjim1 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:02 am
Again...We will watch for added developments and will post as known.
And again confusing, conflicting information coming from the Thai authorities themselves.
Thai Immigration has amended their rules effective 31 October 2019, regarding applications for extension of stay for those that entered Thailand using a Non-Immigrant O-A Visa which will require they show health insurance from one the companies listed athttp://longstay.tgia.org/home/companiesoa - new rules can be viewed here: https://www.immigration.go.th/read?cont ... sLUU_LlGn0. It applies ONLY to those that entered Thailand using the O-A Visa and not to the many of us that either entered using the Non-Immigrant O Visa or applied for the O Visa from Thai Immigration (entering on Visa Exempt or Tourist Visa).

The Thaivisa.com thread yesterday that mentioned the requirement and had the link to the new Immigration amended rule, also mentioned that the Thai Foreign Ministry would be making an announcement later that afternoon (but, so far, I haven't seen any information on such an announcement) on the rules for obtaining an O-A Visa (issued by Thai Embassy/Consulate and available only in your country of residence). It further indicated that a person could have health insurance from their country of residence so long as it met the requirements (400k inpatient/40k outpatient) and covered the insured in Thailand.

Thus, it appears that applying for the O-A Visa from a Thai Embassy/Consulate, you can do so without having to have one of the Thai health insurance policies) - BUT, when the holder of the O-A Visa goes to Thai Immigration to extend their permitted stay, then only a health insurance policy from one of the listed Thai Insurance companies will be acceptable. So, for those that have a health insurance policy from their own country and do not wish to obtain the Thai health insurance policy, it appears they will have to return to their country of residence and apply for a new O-A Visa -- these visas are usually multiple entry and receive a one year permission to stay on each entry during the validity period of the Visa (usually one year from issuance date). If the holder leaves Thailand and returns before the expiration (enter by) date on the Visa, they would receive another one year permission to stay - but it appears for any additional entries using that Visa, proof that the health insurance has not expired will be necessary or having one of the Thai health insurance polices for O-A visa holders - see page 11 of the pdf file showing the new Thai Immigration rule.

IMO, and that is just that, my opinion, the Immigration Bureau did not want to be involved in trying to determine if foreign health insurance policies would meet the requirements; thus simplifying their work by limiting extensions to the Thai policies being offered specifically for O-A Visa holders. Whereas, the Thai Embassies/Consulates may be in a better position to make such a determination as they are located in the country where the health insurance policy is issued -- of course, what documentation they may require for acceptance is yet to be seen.

Note -- I have seen several articles regarding the implementation of the change which are for announcements made by the Ministry of Public Health - as with the MofPH's initial announcement several months ago, they make reference to "retirement" visas with no distinction that it applies only to the Non-Immigrant O-A Visa, thus adding to the confusion. The Immigration rules are fairly clear that the health insurance requirement will only apply to holders of O-A Visas -- when issued, it is most likely the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requirements will also apply only to the O-A Visa (it is my understanding you cannot get an "O" visa from the Thai Embassy/Consulate in your country of residence if you apply for it for the purpose of "retirement", requiring instead that you apply for the O-A visa).

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by travelerjim1 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:11 pm

GB...if apply in home country...NO 800,000 Thai baht required in a Thai bank...plus can use COMBO of income and banked $$ to get O--A.
Tj

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by Gaybutton » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:08 pm

travelerjim1 wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:11 pm
GB...if apply in home country...NO 800,000 Thai baht required in a Thai bank...plus can use COMBO of income and banked $$ to get O--A.
I see. Thank you.

Technically there is no 800,000 baht requirement for the O visa either - if the applicant can prove the monthly 65,000 baht income requirement to immigration's satisfaction.

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by gera » Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:28 am

Bob wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 10:14 am
The whole premise of the requirement is likely baloney.
Excellent analysis by Bob! The question is why Thai authorities trying to kill the goose who lays golden eggs. The only answer: Thai ruling elite is xenophobic and do not want expats permanently living in Thailand.

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by Gaybutton » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:38 am

gera wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 6:28 am
The only answer:
I wouldn't agree that's the only answer, but it is certainly a plausible answer.

Another question that is not yet clear to me. A farang obtains the O-A visa in his home country, then goes to Thailand to retire. When the O-A is about to expire and if the farang does not want the health insurance from a Thai insurance company, does he have to return to his home country to apply for another O-A or, since he is already living in Thailand, can he then get the O visa?

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by 2lz2p » Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:47 pm

Gaybutton wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:38 am
Another question that is not yet clear to me. A farang obtains the O-A visa in his home country, then goes to Thailand to retire. When the O-A is about to expire and if the farang does not want the health insurance from a Thai insurance company, does he have to return to his home country to apply for another O-A or, since he is already living in Thailand, can he then get the O visa?
To answer both questions, the answer would be yes & yes sort of.

One option is to return to home country and apply for a new O-A Visa using a non-Thai health insurance policy that is acceptable to the Thai Embassy/Consulate where they apply (what will be acceptable and documentation required is still unknown at this time -- I checked this morning for the Thai Embassy in Washington DC and they have not yet added any requirement for health insurance to their list of requirements for the O-A Visa - since the new rule is supposed to be effective 31 October, they most likely will update by or before that date.

As to obtaining a Non-Immigrant O Visa in Thailand, it is possible, but most likely the person would have to leave Thailand and return without a Re-Entry permit, thus voiding their permission to stay under the O-A Visa. In doing so, I would recommend they go to a neighboring country and apply for a Non-Immigrant O Visa at the Thai Embassy or Consulate rather than returning and entering as Visa Exempt (30 day stay) or getting a Tourist Visa and getting a 60 day stay, the applying for the "O" Visa in Thailand. If they get the "O" Visa in the neighboring country, they will receive a 90 day permission to stay upon returning and after 60 days have elapsed, go to Immigration and apply for a one year extension. Otherwise, it is a two step process, first applying for the "O" Visa from Thai Immigration, getting it with a 90 day permitted stay, and then after 60 days applying for the one year extension.

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by Up2u » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:23 pm

Had a lively discussion with 2lz2p this morning on whether the new regulations, effective Oct 31, apply to old non O-A visa annual extensions or simply the new O-A visas. He says Yes they do and I say No. Many of my friends have O-A visas and have been doing extensions for years. I have a non O so I thought I was not impacted. But now I am thoroughly confused like most after viewing this recently posted YouTube video.



The moderators on Thaivisa say he is flat out wrong. I hope so.

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Re: New Health Insurance Requirements Announced O-A

Post by Gaybutton » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:09 pm

While you never know what immigration is going to do, whether regulations will suddenly change yet again, whether new regulations will be grandfathered in, or much of anything else regarding immigration, based on everything I've read my take on this is as follows:

1. None of this applies to type O retirement visas.
2. It does apply to O-A visas.
3. Whether it applies to renewals of O-A visas is still confusing, but I believe it does apply. But remember - what I happen to believe doesn't mean a thing. The only thing that counts is what immigration tells you. And I won't be at all surprised if different immigration offices are still telling people different things. Different immigration officers probably find this just as confusing as we do.

Why they can't make their regulations crystal clear goes beyond me. I'm still waiting for them to clarify or amend the TM30 and TM28 confusion.

In my opinion, the most reliable way of obtaining or renewing retirement visas, if for some reason you don't want health insurance or you don't want to be forced to buy Thai health insurance, is to get the type O visa and have the 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account for the required amount of time.

Other than that, I don't see how anyone, including this lawyer, can be certain of anything until you're in the immigration office trying to obtain or renew a retirement visa. Even the lawyer in the video seems to be uncertain. Suppose you think you've complied with all the regulations to the letter, but the immigration officer says you haven't and denies granting the visa. I don't know what you could do about it. "But officer, I watched a video posted by a farang lawyer who said this is the way it works." Get a stopwatch and time how long it takes for the immigration officer to finish having his little laugh.

Unfortunately, people posting on message boards and telling us what we do or do not want to hear is meaningless. One person insists this is the way it's going to work and another person says no, it's going work differently from that. We're just going to have to wait and see how it's going to work and what kinds of problems and solutions start happening.

That's why I keep saying to apply for the renewal as early as possible in case you do encounter that kind of situation, so that you have time to do whatever you have to do to comply before your current visa expires.

We can question it, debate about it, listen to lawyers, or whatever from now to Kingdom Come, but the bottom line is we're not going to know much of anything until the new regulations come into effect and people start going to immigration and apply for visas and visa extensions.

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