Just last week, there was a new mandate medical insurance for a non-immigration O-A visa. The mandate medical insurance is supposed to become law starting this year in July for people applying for the non-immigration O-A visa. The Tourism & Sports Ministry of Thailand is now considering a new mandate for all foreigners to have travel insurance. I’ll tell you what the suggesting cost of this new insurance might be later in the article.
Tourism and Sports Ministry is considering insurance for all travelers
The Tourism and Sports Ministry is considering the possibility of imposing a tourism levy to use for improving local attractions and insurance coverage for foreign visitors. This is not the same thing as the mandate health insurance for non-immigration O-A visa aka retirement visa.
This consideration is something new, and it is for all tourists. They are two separate things.
The ministry floated the initiative after the National Tourism Policy Act was enacted and published in the Royal Gazette.
Some of the clauses in the law entitle the ministry to outline strategic tourism development plans and set out tourism standards and measures to ensure safety.
The ministry will raise the issue during the brainstorming sessions among tourism stakeholders before deciding on a final plan. They will talk to a government-run University in northern Thailand and the Office of Insurance commission for further study on tourism tax to come up with a proper solution.
The study is likely to take six months to complete. The study will attempt to determine the appropriate fee and where to collect the money. The study will also include the environmental impact of overcrowding on popular attractions and whether they will limit the number of tourists in some of these attractions to promote sustainable tourism.
Thailand tourism industry generated about 3 trillion baht in 2018
In 2018, 38 million foreign visitors travelled to Thailand and spending more than 2 trillion baht. With domestic tourism, Thailand tourism industry generated about 3 trillion baht in 2018, which is about 96 billion USD. This year in 2019, they are expected about 41 million foreign travellers to produce about 2.2 trillion baht. Including, 300 million baht in medical tourist each year.
Estimated cost for this considered medical insurance
Other Asian nationals have this already in place, Japan earlier this year imposed ¥1,000 “Japanese Dollars” levy, while Malaysia recently started charging a departure tax of US$5 for tourists from ASEAN countries and $10 for international tourists.
But I thought there is already foreign levy in Thailand with the dual prices for tourists in some national parks and other attractions?
Then we have another article by a Thai Media, and it’ll give you the estimated cost for this considered medical insurance.
I’ll translate for you.
It says a similar thing, but the difference is that it says
The Tourism and Sports Ministry is considering a plan to collect for medical and life insurance from foreign tourists. Whereas the Bangkokpost says, it is only considering medical insurance.
It says here, they may collect no more than 100 baht per tourist per trip. If Thailand receives 100 baht per person, last year there were 38 million foreign visitors. Thailand would have collected 3.8 billion baht. That money can be used for medical insurance without disturbing the tax money from the Thai people and develop the tourism industry as no one paid for medical expense for the funeral for foreign tourists, which cost Thai taxpayers about 300 million baht per year.
So that’s what they are saying…
It might not even be 100 baht, it can be more or less or none at all if this didn’t get approved. It could only be life insurance, where it only covers the funeral cost.
This insurance for all travellers is all speculation. But let say if this is approved, let us assume that for a minute. There were 38 million foreign visitors last year in 2018 x 100 baht per person. That’s 3.8 trillion baht or about $122 million USD.
They say 300 million baht for unpaid medical bills each year by foreigners. So if this 100 baht each visitor have to pay to come to Thailand last year. That’s 3.8 trillion baht minus 300 million baht. They are left with about
3.5 trillion baht left over, that’s about 112 million USD for last year alone.
Yea, I think this might pass. Why not. Now I was just being sarcastic there. Thai government needed 300 million baht, so if they charge 100 baht per person, they will get 3.8 billion baht.
If they charge 100 baht per person and get 112 million USD left over, then they use that money to have better waste management, better water waste management because wastewater is being poured into the sea. Also, they can use that money to get rid of air pollution because in the north each year you get about 4 months of horrible air quality.
Billions ($) are needed into waste management, renewable energy, waste2energy facilities.
So if that 112 million USD or the money left over of the unpaid medical bills by foreigners are used for that propose, I say go for it. But we don’t know who is going to pocket it.
But what about Laos, Cambodia and other South East Asian nationals are coming into Thailand. They are not Thai and are consider foreigners also.
Some might make multiple trips each week, and 100 baht extra is costly for them. Maybe ASEAN countries will be excluded, and this is for western nationals only. So is this another dual pricing for westerns?
What about the tourists who already have travel or medical insurance. Most credit card and their work may include travel insurance. Do they still need to pay? How will the procedure be?
I think it is a good idea, but I can’t say much because there is little info. If this is a comprehensive, health insurance for all travellers that cost 100 baht. That is a great deal. But I doubt it, because now you might have foreigners with preexisting condition who can come to Thailand and pay 100 baht and get surgery. So more insurance fraud for the Thais, they already have fake police claims by foreigners trying to get insurance money when they go home.
Here’s what I think of all of this. It is a sound plan if the money goes where it should be, but I doubt it if they don’t understand why there is mandatory medical insurance for non-immigration O-A visa and why they also need 800k baht in a Thai bank.
The reason they are considering to have all foreigners pay travel insurance is the 300 million baht unpaid medical bills. Well, they just passed a law that requires non-immigration O-A visa holders to have insurance. They also need the non-immigration O-A visa extension to have 800k baht in a Thai bank just in case of an emergency. Then you have non-immigration O visa to have 400k baht in a Thai bank.
So that would reduce much of the unpaid medical bills. For people with the non-immigration O-A and O visa.
Then, you have dual pricing, VAT on hotels, tours, services, imported alcohol, and tobacco from visitors. Visa fees, fees for visa extension, fee if you overstay, fee for the TM30.
Yet, they are thinking of profiting more because of a small percentage of individuals who came here and lost everything.
Now if that money and the left over money from the unpaid medical care go to build better waste management, and get rid of air pollution. Then I am all for it, but I doubt that will happen.
So what do you think about all of this? Do you like the idea or not? Leave your comment below, also check out my free ebook about Thailand, there is a link in below. Get a free download.