About Us

We are a married couple who retired and moved to Thailand in 2014. You are welcome to join us and our travel monkeys Sun Wukong and Malcolm Jr. on our adventures! We hope you enjoy the trip as much as we do.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Change of Visa Plans .... Ahhh! The AMA

Part of the retirement visa application process for Thailand is a medical clearance that shows we are free from the following diseases:

1)  Leprosy
2)  Tuberculosis
3)  Elephantiasis
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.


  1. Vince and Lin,
    I am perusing your website...You both are certainly prepared and ready to enjoy retirement in Thailand...It was nice to touch base with Vince yesterday and exchange childhood flash in the pan little pleasant memories. I am looking at working another year...before going over to Thailand...Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai will be a starting point.I hope to teach part time to supplement and to be of service in a small capacity. My life partner...Pablo/Paul Cronin is skeptic of traveling and LOS. I will keep turning his attention to the websites and reading up on the financial aspect which is huge and most importantly...the culture and quality of life...and at 60 now...he is six years younger born in 1958 so...I would like to hear Lin's perspective on the move...I'm totally comfortable with the move and change...I need to make sure monetarily that it is feasible for both Pablo and I. I want to thank you both for your work done on your website...it is invaluable to other future retirees.
    Mary & Pablo

    1. Hello Mary and Pablo,

      Monetarily, based on people that we know living there and blogs that we have read, If you can qualify for a "Retirement Visa" you can live like royalty. Several people we know who are younger are living in large beautiful homes and their budget figures show they only spend $1,200 US dollars a month. That includes, rent, food, travel, internet, water, electric. Thailand is very safe and the Thai people are very friendly.
      Check out the links to our favorite blogs on the right side of the page and you will have a better idea of life in Thailand.
      As for a woman's perspective, I am adventurous by nature, love to meet people and will ask them to teach me a few words of their language so at least I can say please, and thank you and where is the bathroom! :) I love to laugh and don't get flustered easily even when lost.
      I am not high maintenance, don't care to have a lot of "Things" so when we move it will be one carry on and one medium luggage. But from what I hear of expats living there you could just bring a carry on because you can find everything there. Chiang Mai has 3 modern malls and you can find that one thing you are craving from home. There are every type of restaurant imaginable along with fresh ingredeints cooked right in front of you at street carts.
      The medical care is world class. Medical Tourism is a big money draw for both parties. We know a woman that just had $60.000 US dollars of dental done for $6,000 US. The doctors, dentists, surgeons are trained in the US and Britian and hospitals have all the latest and greatest tecnology. Of course if you are in a very tiny village or town it will reflect the level of technology and training.
      Send us a message on Retire Cheap Asia and we will exchange email and if you have a Face Book page that would be good too. I am excited to chat more.

  2. YIKES that is Ridiculous!!! so your medical for 1 month is the same for WORLD coverage in thailand... WOW... World coverage in thailand is 1700.00 per YEAR no deductible...