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Thailand Retirement Visa Insurance Update

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are doing an update with respect to Retirement Visa insurance. This video is being made after the implementation of the new Retirement Visa Insurance scheme which came into effect October 31, 2019. 

Let me just start off by saying, I believe based on anecdotal information provided by Embassies abroad, Thai Embassies abroad, as well as from information given here in country and finally we had a Thai Attorney make specific contact with Immigration directly, discussed it with Immigration Officers specifically what this regime is looking like and I have at least some moderately good news with respect to how this stuff is going to be implemented. 

So let's go ahead and talk about the situation in a broad scope and then I will narrow it down. I will be the first to stand corrected.  Previously I was saying that I think that this would ultimately apply to everyone. At least for the time being based on what we have been told directly by Immigration; it will not. That being said, I think that the lack of insurance, the folks that are not going to need insurance, I think those folks’ numbers are going to dwindle as time goes by and I will explain why. 

So, we have been in contact directly with Immigration as well as the Thai Embassy in the United States, in Washington DC, and the Embassy in DC said the O-A Visa would be issued and then insurance would have to be maintained if one wishes to extend and I believe that that is the case. So folks who obtain an OA  Visa, come to Thailand and then after a year seek to extend their status in Thailand, I believe those folks are going to need to go ahead and keep maintaining their insurance as time goes on.

Now the question arises and I always thought that folks were creating a distinction with respect to O retirement status granted in country where really one did not exist; there was no distinction. I have been informed by Thai Immigration specifically that yes, there is a distinction made for those who are extending their O Visa status based on retirement in the Kingdom and those folks may not necessarily need to go ahead and obtain retirement insurance; so-called medical insurance. What I think is happening here is basically there is going to be a situation moving forward where there is going to be those who got in and were extended prior to October 31 2019 and then there is going to be those folks who are not. Moving forward, I think the way this is ultimately going to work out, and this is based on logical inferences from information gleaned from Immigration directly as well as Embassies abroad, as well as some anecdotal information from certain clients, it looks to me like moving forward we are going to see a situation where they are going to start requiring everyone who enters Thailand with retiree intent, they are going to require those folks to obtain an OA abroad and those folks then need to go ahead and extend their OA status as OA status thereby maintaining their insurance thereafter. Those folks who came into Thailand previously who do not have an OA Visa,  may never have had an OA Visa, they may have simply gone into O retirement status based on extension, those folks it appears are not going to be required, at least for the foreseeable future, to obtain medical insurance. Now that being stated, I want to walk that back just for a moment, because as I have said previously, the regulations on this are relatively vague and I think at some point in the future, someone could use their discretion to go ahead and start saying that "yes everyone needs insurance". That being said it does not appear that that is what they are going to be doing for now but it looks to me like those folks who are in O retirement extension status, need to be very assiduous in maintaining their extension status under their current terms or should I say under the terms that existed prior to October 31, 2019 because if one falls out of status, I think it is going to be very difficult to try and get back into that insurance exempted O retiree status which existed before and now is sort of a limited status that only exists for certain people because moving forward I think they are going to require everyone to enter in OA status and then extend in OA status and require insurance for those folks.

so for those of you who were watching this video who were worried about things like pre-existing conditions and having lived here for a prolonged period of time without insurance, I think you guys are going to be able to rest easy now and as long as you maintain your status as it existed prior to October 31, 2019, you can continue moving down the road without needing to worry about medical insurance. This is I know a special relief to the viewers who watch this channel who are over a certain age, who have certain pre-existing conditions for which insurance is not a possibility. 

That being said, folks coming in in the future, I don't think it is going to be possible to come in any other way other than OA status. Now, I have seen a lot of people talking about this saying “You can get an O visa overseas and come in and extend as a retiree in-country.” I think that is theoretically maybe possible, but that being stated I do not think it is going to be very likely. This regime is being implemented for a specific reason and I think those who are seeking visas abroad, those who are seeking simple O visas are going to need to show like something like that you are married to a Thai, related to a Thai National in some way by blood or marriage, or there are certain others are miscellaneous categories were an O may apply but I do not think it is prudent to believe that in the future one can just get a standard O visa and come in to Thailand. There may be gaps in the system while they are implementing this, that is not to say that is not going to be the case, but I think that the regime that they want now is folks who have retiree intentions and are over a certain age, have to come in with the retirement Visa specifically an OA and extend it. Those folks who got in previously and did not have an OA but managed to get into extension status based on retirement, those folks at least from what we have been told by Immigration, they are going to be left alone from an insurance standpoint at least for the foreseeable future, so they can rest easy. 

Another thing to think of. It now explicitly states in the regulations with respect to Retirement visas that those who want a Retirement Visa in the Kingdom need to come in with a Non-immigrant Visa.  This is specifically to the issue of extension. You have to have a Non-immigrant Visa in order to get into retiree extension status so if it is Non-immigrant OA, you have to extend on the terms that you had when you got it; obviously insurance is included in those terms, but if you have another type of Visa, again an O Retirement Visa you can keep extending on that, but there are those who are going to say, "well go get an O at an embassy abroad and use that to come in." I think simple Os for single people, specifically single men or women, who are over a certain age, I think they are going to view those as presumptive retirees and they are going to go ahead and say you need to apply for an OA, we are not going to grant you an O and then once you are in OA status you are going to have to deal with the insurance regime moving forward.