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O Retirement Visas, the Thailand Pass, and Insurance

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing O Retirement Visas, Insurance and the Thailand Pass. A lot has been discussed. I know there is consternation in the retiree community right now about all this discussion on new insurance requirements especially insurance requirements as they apply with respect to the Thailand Pass. 

I started thinking about this as a result of reading a recent article in the Pattaya Mail, that is, the article is titled: The Ongoing Saga of Retirees with an “O” type Visa or extension. There is a lot in here. I urge folks who are watching this video to check this out directly but to quote from here and then I want to get into my analysis on this. “But the main bone of contention appears to be whether expats holding the O type annual extension of stay will be subject to extra insurance requirements when applying abroad for the Thailand Pass permission to return here. Of course everyone knows about the US$50,000 COVID Insurance required of all foreign entrants available to anyone under a 100 years old on several websites notably Quoting further: "The online debate in ASEAN NOW appeared to reach a consensus that these O Retirees armed with their reentry permit would not require additional insurance cover. However, the website of the Royal Thai Embassy in Washington DC puts it this way. Under a general heading about new rules starting on November 1, 2021, the text reads: "long stay Visa holders for Retirement O, O-A and X or who currently hold a re-entry permit for such visas, require outpatient treatment not less than 40,000 Baht and inpatient treatment 400,000 Baht." That currently looks like a separate burden from the US$ 50,000 COVID Insurance needed for Thailand Pass and sounds like the old O-A general medical insurance rule reincarnated." 

Yeah, we are still sussing out this insurance stuff but here would be my main analysis for folks who are dealing with an O Retirement Visa and let's be clear, an extension. O Retirement Visas we see this in the context of people that are extending their status within Thailand. I think the way we are going to have to start looking at this at least for the foreseeable future is to look backward at how the Certificate of Entry system worked; how the Thailand Pass system is as a legacy to that system I really don't understand why they renamed it but okay they did and it is really on many, many levels fundamentally the same kind of document and the same process for getting it but okay moving ahead, so how did the COE work; how is the Thailand Pass working and how are folks with a Thai O Retirement Visa going to need to presume they are going to operate moving forward. The best way I think of looking at this is look if you are in Thailand and you just keep extending in O Retiree status, I don't see any insurance requirement forthcoming. We have done the analysis on that going back to October 2019 talking about O-A versus O. O Retirees just say it is inherent to the way that the regulatory structure of Retirement Visas have been set up; they have two designations: O-A and O. O as far as extensions in country go, don't need the insurance. As a practical matter, and I want to be clear, I don't know exactly how this will ultimately manifest itself, if it will be the 400,000 inpatient, 40,000 outpatient or the all-encompassing US $50,000 I don't exactly know how this is going to work but I think O retirees need to go ahead and start presuming, it may not ultimately play out this way but I think it would be prudent to presume that at least for the foreseeable future or so long as we are dealing with Thailand Pass, you are going to need some kind of health insurance to regain access to the country be it under a re-entry permit or an O Retirement Visa or just an O Retirement Visa which can be issued abroad although frankly I see those issued far less frequently than the O-As. 

The thing to take away from this video and I am pretty much talking to O Retirees, if you are looking to stay in Thailand and just extend, it doesn't look like there is anything on the horizon regarding insurance for that purpose. But as a practical matter you could end up with a de facto requirement if you want to travel in and out of Thailand rather frequently or even just once a year and return home or go to another country, as a practical matter it looks like the Thailand Pass system is going to require some kind of extra insurance than what you have been used to dealing with. Exactly what it is going to be I can't necessarily say with a degree of certainty that I want to right now. I suspect as things evolve we will have a better idea of what this is looking like but for now, the thing to take away from this video is as a practical matter O Retirees who need to get a Thailand Pass to come into Thailand effectively are going to need to deal with insurance for that purpose, if only for that purpose alone.