Foreigners offer prayers at the reopened Erawan shrine in Bangkok on August 19, 2015. Thai monks led prayers on August 19 for the reopening of Bangkok shrine where a blast killed 20 people, as police hunted a man shown on security footage calmly planting what is believed to be the bomb. AFP PHOTO / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

Effective from October 31st, foreigners who apply for a non-immigrant visa will be required to have health insurance to ensure that they are covered for medical treatment while in Thailand for a period not exceeding one year.

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha said today that, since more and more foreigners are seeking medical treatment in Thailand, partially as a result of the Thai government’s promotion of health tourism, it is necessary for long-stay foreigners, especially the elderly, to have health insurance coverage to ensure they get medical treatment when needed.

Foreigners who apply for non-immigrant visas, which allow them to stay in Thailand for one year, will be required to have a health insurance policy purchased either in their home country or in Thailand, said Mr. Sathit, adding that aging foreigners will be the first to be required to have health insurance because they are more likely to require medical attention.

The deputy health minister said that the Health Support Department has developed a central website to link to the websites of all relevant agencies and to provide a one-stop service to foreigners.

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