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Retirees "Grandfathered Out" of Thai Health Insurance?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Retirement Visas again and I have had a lot of questions with respect to this. I just did another video specifically on the ramifications of the new regulations on retirement status and as I stated in that video, I think moving forward, basically the Thai overall Immigration System, this is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the Immigration apparatus here in Thailand, they are basically going to funnel folks, everybody moving forward from October 31, 2019 onward, they are going to funnel those folks into an OA Visa that they have to obtain abroad and then they are going to make those folks extend under the terms that they obtained their initial Visa under, when they come in the Kingdom. 

So basically what we are looking at is moving forward in order to come in to Thailand to retire you are going to have to get a Retirement Visa abroad and as I went over in that video, they specifically note that you need a Non-immigrant Visa in order to even apply for a retirement extension in Thailand. Well, with some rare exceptions there are other categories for example, maybe it is possible to convert to a Retirement Visa from a Business Visa here in Thailand although probably unlikely; it would depend on circumstances I think and it is going to be discretionary. For the most part, anybody specifically coming in to retire is going to need to come in on a Retirement Visa and there are those who would say "well just get an O Visa abroad and come in on over and then extend in O retiree status." I think they are going to tighten up O Visas a lot. I think effectively we are going to start seeing Os only issued for those married to a Thai or with Thai relations. I don't think we are going to see O Visas going to be issued for retirees, just a simple O being issued for retirees. I think they are going to push those folks over into the OA category, require them to have medical insurance and then require them to extend under those same terms as well. So where does this leave us? Well it leaves is in a situation where it looks to me like those who previously had O retirement extensions, so they have been extending their status in the Kingdom in retirement status under the O category but not strictly speaking an OA Visa. Now I know that I  have gone over on this channel a lot, I personally think that there is no distinguishing characteristics between the two because the entire category is a miscellaneous category. After research with the Thai Embassy in the United States, specifically in Washington DC, as well as information anecdotal from other clients, and finally from contacting Thai Immigration on the ground directly following the implementation of these rules, it has been explained to us that "yes, there is going to be a distinction being made and in a sense, those who have been extending in retirement status up to October 31, 2019 and did not need medical insurance, for lack of better term they are "grandfathered out" of needing it moving forward so long as they maintain their extension status based on O retirement in country extension, not seeking visas abroad but just continuing to extend their status, the terms under which they initially extended will continue to apply to those folks under that O retirement category. As a practical matter, what I see happening moving forward, is the numbers of those folks are going to dwindle because it is not going to be possible anymore to come in and roll into a retirement extension status as it was in the past most notably because it requires a Non-immigrant Visa to even extend into any type of retirement status be it OA retirement status or O retirement status as granted previously: so you need a non-immigrant visa. Well in the past it was possible to come in on a 30 day stamp or a tourist visa and then just roll over into retirement status and do an extension that way. The way I read the regulations now, it definitely is a requirement with respect to extension that you are going to go ahead and need a Non-immigrant Visa in order to even extend, so we are talking O Visas, OA Visas, B Visas theoretically etc. 

Now, as I have said previously I know there are some folks who say "Well, just go to an embassy and get a simple O Visa " I think the issuance of those is going to be truncated way down compared to times past. I think that those are only going to be issued to again specifically folks who have Thai family basically, I think as a practical matter.  There are some other ways that Os can be issued under the miscellaneous category but as a practical matter I think those are going to be truncated way down. What does this mean for folks currently in status?  If you currently have an O retirement extension, it appears to me that you will be able to continue extending in that status under prior terms and therefore for lack of better term be "grandfathered out" of needing health insurance. 

So hopefully, those folks that are watching this video who have been very concerned about this, you can breathe a little easier. Especially I do understand folks that are older than a certain age and who have certain pre-existing conditions, I hope this is a relief to you. It looks like if you are in and you have been extended in under prior terms, they are going to keep doing it. That being said, those folks moving forward who are coming in for the first time in retirement status, you folks are going to have to extend under the terms of which you initially came in and those folks are going to need to extend with insurance.

That is the best update we have currently with respect to retirement Visa status. If something changes with respect to our analysis on this I will do another video and update you accordingly.