Elderly foreigners are still welcome in Thailand

The return of international tourists to Pattaya needs all the help it can get.

According to the latest information by Thai embassies round the world, foreigners up to the age of 99 can still obtain reasonably-priced insurance cover required by the Thailand Pass procedures which began today. The Washington DC embassy site confirms that the US$50,000 medical insurance required is obtainable from the Thai General Insurance Association (http://covid19.tgia.org).

The TGIA site continues to offer a minimum of US$100,000 but restricts cover to Covid-related hospitalization.  Foreigners must be outside the country on application and are charged only on the basis of the country of departure and length of the visa.  All age groups up to 99 years are eligible and are charged a flat rate irrespective of age.  For example, a passenger from UK pays about 4,500 baht (one hundred pounds) for one month and about 44,000 baht (one thousand pounds) for a full year.

It had been feared, following a statement from the Department of Consular Affairs last week, that Covid-only insurance might not be sufficient.  However, more recent statements by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tourist Authority of Thailand have stated simply “medical insurance of at least US$50,000” is required.  Similar phrases appear on the websites of Thai embassies in UK and several European countries.

There are other Thai or foreign insurance companies and consortia offering similar cover, but many have a cut-off point between 65 and 76 years, or require a medical examination.  All foreigners entering Thailand – including those with re-entry permits – require Thailand Pass authorization which will be a QR code, with the exception of work permit holders covered for hospitalization from their salary deductions to the social security fund.  Thais returning home are not required to show medical insurance.

The indications so far are that medical insurance will be required only for entry and not for extensions of stay granted by Thai immigration offices.  The only exceptions are O/A retiree visa holders who require insurance on an ongoing basis for renewal.  The O/A annual visa is issued abroad by Thai embassies, but Thai immigration offices require insurance to renew them.  Other annual visas, such as “O” or marriage, do not currently carry this renewal restriction.

Addendum: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now confirmed that either Covid-specific or general medical cover are acceptable provided that the minimum insurance is US$50,000.