Thai expats desperately seek Covid-19 insurance with mixed results

Even after vaccination, some expats may need Covid insurance to renew their visas.

The recent Thai Cabinet decision to “in principle” approve mandatory Covid insurance of at least 3 million baht (US $ 100,000) when extending annual O / A visas to Thai immigration has certainly placed the cat among pigeons. But the whole complex question remains unclear, as immigration police now have the truly unenviable task of filling in the details before the new rules appear in the Royal Gazette. It will probably take months.

The important distinction is whether you are in Thailand or outside of Thailand when you apply for insurance. Much easier if you are abroad. The website offers Covid insurance to anyone aged 0 to 99 entering Thailand. The cost depends exclusively on your country of departure and the duration of your visa. As an example, a person embarking from London will pay 23,040 baht for one year of coverage and a person traveling from the United States 6,400 baht for 90 days.

The virus has had a disastrous effect on so many businesses.

This coverage, under the auspices of the Thai General Insurance Association, incorporates the government’s requirement for antivirus coverage of 3 million baht. However, there is a disclaimer on the website that the insurance is intended for visitors to the country “and not residents of Thailand at this time.” So expats already here can forget about this particular loophole. In addition, some countries with very high infection rates (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc.) are excluded from the list of starting points.

Expats are therefore looking for domestic viral coverage in Thailand. The site offers Covid insurance to expats who have a work permit or “who have been living here for at least six months”. The cost is a sliding scale between 350 and 850 baht per year. However, the details of the policy would obviously not cover the government’s stipulation of 3 million baht. For example, Covid coverage for inpatients is limited to 200,000 baht, subject to approval.

Even American presidents are not immune from the need to seek protection.

Another option is to link Covid coverage to general medical insurance covering other illnesses, accidents, etc. can study several integrated policies of several Thai and international companies. However, there are npw age restrictions that diseases other than Covid are covered. Expats applying in their 60s may need a prior medical exam and those at least 70 years old will have serious problems trying to register the first time.

Of course, the internet is full of Covid coverage offers for all ages. This is a case of Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware. There is no universal definition of Covid coverage and it’s up to each company to make its own offer. Phrases like “pre-existing conditions”, “unrecognized quarantine center” or “hospitalization without a doctor’s recommendation” can mean and do mean that you cannot claim if you catch the disease. It is a good idea to consult with a local insurance agent with a good reputation, unless you are very confident in deciphering deliberately obscure language into the language of policies.

Streetwise people know full well that insurance brokers can put policies in place for the advanced elderly, but there will certainly be heavy exclusions required by the company for obvious reasons. It would be tragic if new immigration rules were designed simply to increase the income of insurance companies and have nothing to do with the health of the expatriate population. If, as we are told, the Thai government seeks to lure hundreds of thousands of retirees, investors, digital nomads and property hunters into a revamped immigration policy, authorities would do better to monitor their move. They could actually empty the place.

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