Part of the retirement visa application process for Thailand is a medical clearance that shows we are free from the following diseases:
4) Drug Addiction
5) Third Stage of Syphilis
Now, we have had the same doctor for over 12 years. He pretty well knows that we have none of the above medical issues since we believe they might just possibly show up in our yearly physical that we take. But....seeing how the US is a litigious society he would require us to have the lab tests necessary to prove we have none of the above maladies before he will sign the medical clearance for our visa application.
We have double coverage medical insurance so you would think that would be a breeze. However, since neither of us show any indications that we have any of the dreaded diseases the insurance company will NOT cover the lab and medical tests for them.
Ahhh, medical care in the USA. Gotta love it. Our medical insurance premium each month is $1532.46 EACH. Yes, that is per month ... not yearly or quarterly ... monthly! EACH! For the two of us that is $3064.92 per month. And they won't cover (estimates from labs, etc) between $500 and $1000 worth of tests each.
So we have decided to change what visa we will apply for next year when the time comes for our move. Instead of the Non-Immigrant O-A retirement visa we will instead apply for the Non-Immigrant O visa for purposes of evaluating retirement in Thailand.
The Non-Immigrant O-A retirement visa requirements include a $200 application fee, a police background check, the medical clearance for ugly diseases check, proof of 800,000 Thai Baht in the bank (currently $25,736 US) or 65,000 Thai Baht in guaranteed monthly retirement income (currently $2,091 US). None of these are an issue but we don't feel like paying up to $2000 to have ridiculous medical tests done.
The Non-Immigrant O visa requires we can show a bank balance of $480 US per person and pay an $80 US application fee. This visa would give us a 90 day stay in Thailand and in the last 30 days of that stay we can apply for a one year extension to stay for 1900 Thai Baht (currently $61.12). It also does not require the medical clearance or police background check.
Granted the O-A visa can be worked, with a visa run just before it expires at the end of 1 year, into almost 2 years before you need to apply for an extension of stay, but with the expensive costs of the medical testing here in the US to get the O-A visa it just doesn't make sense financially for us unless the medical tests were covered by our exorbitantly over-priced medical insurance.
Ahhh! The AMA. Do the math.