Thai Health Insurance for Foreigners?!

National Accident Insurance Will Cover Foreigners


The Ministry of Public Health has announced that anyone – Thai or foreign – injured in a traffic accident will be afforded medical care in government hospitals henceforth.

So far, reports have been mixed: several hospitals have refused to provide care (beyond basic stabilization) to injured farangs because no mechanism has yet been established to reimburse them.

However, the trend is favorable for us expats, as the story below illustrates:

Health Plans for Foreigners Under Review

The Ministry of Public Health on Thursday revealed it was seeking appropriate forms of health insurance for foreigners in preparation for the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

Public Health Minister Pradit Sinthawanarong said after a meeting with members of the International Public Health Policy Committee that the ministry was pushing ahead with a plan to stabilise the health insurance system and ensure it covers all groups of people including foreigners in Thailand.

A long-term spending plan for a health-related budget would be jointly drawn up and implemented by the ministry and the Ministry of Finance to avoid excessive or unreasonable expenditures.

Mr Pradit said the ministry was in the process of improving the public health service system to ensure more effectiveness. It will set up a national public health commission to drive the country’s health policies in the same direction. The prime minister will be the commission’s chairman and the health minister its secretary-general.

On health care measures for foreigners in preparation for the AEC, the ministry will target three groups of foreign nationals: people from countries sharing borders with Thailand who seek medical treatment here; foreign (migrant) workers and expatriates and their families who are not under the social security system; and foreigners who require a visa to enter Thailand.

For the first group, the ministry will set charges for those living along the borders and who enter the kingdom to seek medical treatment as a short-term measure. It will help to develop domestic health insurance systems in the neighbouring countries of Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia through international organisations including the World Health Organisation (WHO) in an attempt to encourage their citizens to receive medical services in their countries.

The ministry will also introduce a “health card” scheme in May. Foreign workers and expats would be urged to buy health cards for their newborn babies which would allow them to receive all the same health benefits as Thais.

It was considering the pros and cons of an idea to sell travel health insurance for visitors in the third group to make sure the move does not affect tourism, Mr Pradit said.

For more on Medical insurance in Thailand, read this…

The Best Thailand Video

Here are some short videos that give you a sense of just how exotic daily life is for people lucky enough to live in Thailand.

Moviemaker filmmaker Fred Albrecht spent ten days spent in Thailand and  captures his most magical moments with the precision and beauty that we expect of a professional.

Each shot tells its own tale – which is what sets pros apart from our amateur efforts!


And here’s Richard Weeks explaining  what it takes to lead a middle-class life in Thailand.

Thailand’s Booming Economy

Thailand’s economy expanded rapidly in the fourth quarter, compared with last year, gross domestic product grew 18.9%.

Much of that can be credited to the tremendous floods of last year, and the consequent rebuilding boom. But even so, growth surprised everyone.

Experts predicted growth to come in at 12–15% for the last quarter, but the resilient Thais blew that away.

Here in Chiang Mai the signs are everywhere: building is booming and almost every one of our hundreds of temples is on a major building or renovating tear.

Exports are up, and so is domestic consumption. The ‘surprise’ part is probably attributable to the unofficial economy. Most Thai transactions are for cash, and almost all Thais have unreported income. When I rented a car last week, for example, the rental company refused my credit card and insisted on a cash deposit (only $170, actually).

After the USA, it’s fun to walk around in a booming economy. Normally happy Thais are now ecstatic. Everyone’s got a job, and everyone’s expecting bonuses. Friends who are hiring complain that most of the Thais who accept positions fail to show up on their scheduled first day – or ever! They’ve found better offers.

Strangely, inflation has stayed low. I had an iced coffee, beef with noodles, and a large bottle of cold Singha beer yesterday for 134 Baht–$4.50.

So…as the Aussies say, no worries!










Here’s a video to get you thinking about your personal economy and what it takes to live a middle-class life in Thailand. It’s Richard Weeks, a Thailand veteran, talking from experience…


My Thailand Medical Adventure

 I injured my hand last week doing something stupid. It hurt like crazy and swelled up as though there was a golf ball photounder my skin. Hoping that the paid would pass, I prescribed painkillers for myself by going to the nearest pharmacy, pointing to my swollen hand, and miming agony.

The pharmacist, like most Thai pharmacists, spoke English and prescribed two medications, one to reduce the swelling and the other to knock out the pain: 12 each of Sumidin and Brustan, for which I paid a total of 120 Bt ($4.00).

They worked well but the hand remained weak and unusable. So I checked in to Chiang Mai University’s Medical Center. The receptionist directed me to the 13th. floor where a charming orthopedic surgeon examined the hand tenderly.

“I don’t think it’s broken but let’s take an X-Ray to be certain,” he said and dispatched a nurse to take me down 10 floors to Radiology. She chatted charmingly with me all the way down and back.

By the time we returned the orthopedic surgeon had my X-Ray up on his monitor (no film). He pointed out some old damage to my cartilage and told me that the wrist would have to be immobilized for 2-4 weeks in a wrist brace.

Here’s how it worked out when I went to the desk to pay, 90 minutes after I arrived:

Drugs 120 Bt. $4.00
3 Diagnostic X-Rays, 340 Bt. $11.30
Diagnosis 60 Bt $2.00
Doctor fee outpatient care 300 Bt. $10.00
CD-ROM of X-Ray Images No Charge $ 0.00
TOTAL $820 $27.30

For more on medical insurance in Thailand, read this…

Morning Offerings in Thailand

We tend to think of Thailand as somewhat licentious, largely because they have

Bank Teller Doing Morning Puja Outside Bank

Bank Teller Doing Morning Puja Outside Bank

a relaxed approach to sex and to rules that we are accustomed to taking seriously. But that is the tourist’s attitude.

In real-life Thailand people practice Buddhism daily and their approach to one another is very formal. In the upper picture, if you squint, you can see that the young woman, a bank teller, is making the morning offering of food and incense at the shrine of her employer, a large bank.

In the lower picture you see a little girl bowing to her father, who has just dropper her off at school.

I get a huge kick out of these little scenes, which are played out millions of times every morning throughout Thailand.

It reminds me of all the little things that go into creating a culture and a civilization…

This little girl is saying good bye to her father outside her school

This little girl is saying good bye to her father outside her school

Books About Living in Thailand

Books about living and retiring in Thailand by Godfree Roberts, Chiang Mai, Thailand:

How to Retire in Thailand and Double Your Income

How to Retire in Thailand

How to Retire in Thailand

ISBN: 978-1-62314-320-6

Making Money in Thailand

ISBN: 978-1-62314-967-3



22 ways that Westerners who retire in Thailand can (and DO) make extra income. From legal employment to buying a business to starting one. Covers budgets, profit margins, on-line and off-line businesses, visas, legalities, business culture, import and export, and a range of stories and videos by and about Thai expats making extra money,  and more.

Medical Insurance in Thailand

ISBN: 978-1-62314-604-7

Medical Insurance in Thailand

Medical Insurance in Thailand


AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE to medical insurance in Thailand.

EXPLAINS seven insurance strategies: from no insurance to full coverage by an international carrier, with sample rates and exclusions.

VIDEO of expats discussing their insurance in Thailand

ILLUSTRATED with charts, comparative prices, and live links to insurers.

FULL DESCRIPTION OF THAI HOSPITALS, their hierarchy, standards of care, and certifications.

STORIES by people who have used, refused to use, and failed to use medical insurance in Thailand.

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Leaving America for Thailand?

Leaving America to live in Thailand?

Unthinkable a few years ago, but now more than 25% of American near-retirees say that they are seriously considering leaving the country and retiring somewhere warmer and cheaper.

Once-exotic Thailand is now on every would-be emigrant’s short list.

That’s hardly surprising. Over 70% of American near-retirees will have a negative net worth and a monthly $1200 Social Security check as their only income when they reach 65.

Here’s a quote from the article, below: At 65, unemployed since 2007 in a small town, and with a disabled wife, there is no starting over here. We will be able to save more than half my small government pension/her social security in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I am not bitter, but I no longer believe in capitalism or democracy as I once did; not the way they are being practiced now.

And here’s the introduction to a very thought-provoking piece:


Although there is no shortage of victims of the financial crisis, one group that has generally been missed is the middle aged and elderly. Yes, there are reports of people in their 40s and 50s moving in with their children or other relatives, but for the most part, this cohort does not get much attention.

Yet it isn’t hard to see how grim their prospects are. Many thought they’d be employed at decent jobs through age 65 and are un or underemployed. And those still working full time are often victims of downward mobility, and have lost a well paying job and are now working at a lower pay level. If you don’t have a decent level of earnings, you can’t save much or at all. These pressures come against a backdrop of loss of wealth due to plunges in home prices and to a lesser degree, financial investments. And that’s before we get to pension fund whackage and plans to “reform” Social Security and Medicare.

Some mainstream media outlets took note of an AARP study that found that the group that had the highest rate of foreclosures was the 75 and older cohort. And remember, these are people who retired after a period when unemployment was relatively low and the stock market delivered attractive returns.

While people who are under financial stress don’t much in the way of options, I see more and more people of modest and better means planning on becoming expats to make their retirement incomes go further. San Miguel, Mexico, was long a destination for older Californians who wanted to stretch their retirement dollar. A once well off jewelry dealer (the “trade” has been in desperate shape for over a decade) planned to move to Buenos Aires, but his situation decayed too quickly for him to exit. Costa Rica is apparently popular with economic emigrants. And I’ve now heard two mentions of Thailand in the last three weeks. Read more here…

So give some thought to Thailand. As I’ve said so often, it’s warm, peaceful, beautiful, and tolerant. And it’s cheap.

– by Godfree Roberts, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Author of

How to Retire in Thailand and Double Your Income
ISBN: 978-1-62314-320-6

Making Money in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-967-3

Medical Insurance in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-604-7

Cost of Living in Thailand: 1. Food

Breakfast: Rice Congee with Pork Balls, Raw Egg, Scallions & Ginger

I start the day by sprinkling pepper and fish sauce on my breakfast cereal. I could survive on this warming, balancing, nourishing meal for a week if necessary. Price? $1.50.

Then on to “work” at my office by the river. The staff have my

My Thai Iced Coffee Frappe. Mmmmm.

iced coffee frappe waiting, made just the way I like it. And priced just the way I can afford it: Price? $2.15

Next…yawn…it’s lunchtime, so the cook brings out her specialty of savory chicken, steamed veggetables in light sauce, and steamed rice. Price? $2.10

Most nights I like an organic fruit smoothie blended with the flesh and juice of a fresh coconut, two ripe bananas, and four passion fruit. Price? $1.60

So three meals a day, prepared to my specifications, cost me about $6.00

My All-Fruit Smoothie

– by Godfree Roberts, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Author of

How to Retire in Thailand and Double Your Income
ISBN: 978-1-62314-320-6

Making Money in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-967-3

Medical Insurance in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-604-7

High Speed Trains for Thailand!

High-speed train bids to start in 2013

Bangkok Chiang Mai Express?


The Thai government plans to open international bidding early next year on the first phase of the high-speed rail project.

The 400-billion-baht first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The high-speed train system will largely run alongside existing lines.

They are Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima on the Bangkok-Nong Khai line; Bangkok-Hua Hin on the Bangkok-Padang Besar line; Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai; and Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong on an extension line from Suvarnabhumi airport.

Cost of the first phase is estimated at 400 billion baht for a system that can handle speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour.

Passengers will travel 3.44 hours on the 745-km of Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, 1.35 hours on the 256-km Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima route, 1.09 hours on the 225-km Bangkok-Hua Hin route and one hour on the 220-km Bangkok-Rayong route.

Construction will be along existing routes, while the governors of provinces along the way must submit reasons for having a station in their province.

The international bidding will be held early next year after completion of environmental and health impact assessments.

Pansak Vinyaratn, chairman of the advisory board to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said the government is negotiating with bidders from South Korea, Japan, China and France.

If you’re interested in living in Thailand, check out our website,

– by Godfree Roberts, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Author of

How to Retire in Thailand and Double Your Income
ISBN: 978-1-62314-320-6

Making Money in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-967-3

Medical Insurance in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-604-7

Live in Thailand…For the Rest of Your Life?

Welcome to the Rest of Your LifeImage!

Welcome to your retirement in one of the happiest, most beautiful places on earth. Let’s go over some of the benefits of living here (there are a lot more, and we’ll get into them in future posts):

1. You don’t have to dream about traveling any more. You’re there.

2. You don’t have to say the same old things to the same old people every day.

3. You double your effective income just by being somewhere else.

4. The Taj Mahal and the Forbidden City are both a few hours away.

5. You’ll visit another country every 3 months to renew your visa.

6. You’re a novelty. Your mere presence causes wonderment.

7. You’ll gain daily insights into human nature, especially your own.

8. You’ll leave old baggage behind. Habits and attitudes just evaporate.

9. Getting up every morning is an adventure. You won’t know what will happen.

10. Your money worries stop and you sleep soundly at night.

11. Every breath will smell new, every taste will be fresh, every sound will different.

12. You’re surrounded by real opportunities to develop your Spiritual life.

13. You’ll be functionally illiterate, as vulnerable as a child again.

14. You will find energy released in ways you haven’t experienced since you were 20 years old.

15. You will literally start a whole new life just the way you dreamed of.

If you’re interested in living in Thailand, check out our website,

– by Godfree Roberts, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Author of

How to Retire in Thailand and Double Your Income
ISBN: 978-1-62314-320-6

Making Money in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-967-3

Medical Insurance in Thailand
ISBN: 978-1-62314-604-7