Tenzing pacific services

COVID Travel Restrictions
in Vietnam and Thailand
Include Health Insurance

Craig McAvinue By Geoffrey Mann- Apr 7, 2022 (Update Jan 9, 2023)

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UPDATE for August 2023.  With COVID mostly in the rearview mirror, Vietnam and Thailand have essentially removed any related travel restrictions.  It appears that both countries still have a requirement that visitors have some level of health insurance, in part to cover any COVID testing or treatment.  These regulations are not being enforced, however.  

Tenzing strongly recommends that everyone get health coverage when traveling, regardless of whether it’s legally required. 

 

In 2022, a number of countries in Southeast Asia reopened their borders to foreign visitors after roughly two years of closures and massive tourism losses. Travelers to the region need to understand and deal with what seems like constantly changing entry requirements, from visas to COVID tests and vaccination certificates, and COVID insurance (travel or health insurance that covers COVID).

Things are generally more settled now, but China’s outbreak and failure to be transparent about Covid numbers and variants triggered a new round of travel restrictions.

COVID travel insurance Vietnam

COVID Travel Insurance for Vietnam

UPDATE 8 January, 2023: Vietnam does not require proof of vaccination or a negative test. To the best of our knowledge, health insurance that covers at least $10,000 of COVID care is still required. We continue to strongly recommend that travelers consider health insurance in their planning.

As of 27 April, 2022, Vietnam began allowing tourists to enter the country under a new set of rules for testing, vaccinations, quarantine, and contact tracing, which most view as easier versions of previous rules.

At about the same time, the government announced new entry requirements regarding the cost of COVID-related medical care – basically, travelers are required to pay for any testing and medical treatment. To support this, visitors are now required to have COVID travel insurance that covers treatment in Vietnam. We know that the minimum coverage amount is $10,000 USD, but otherwise, specifics are hard to come by.

Coverage amount

While healthcare in Vietnam is generally viewed as relatively cheap, a serious bout of COVID that requires intensive care and a lengthy hospital stay would easily exceed $10,000, even in a government hospital. The same treatment in a facility designed for expats might be five or more times that amount. We recommend a coverage amount of at least $50,000.

Coverage period

Logically and practically, the length of coverage should be the same as the visit. It appears that some travelers have been allowed to enter with coverage periods that would end just a few days after their arrival. The difference in cost between the bare minimum length and being covered during your whole stay will be a small fraction of the total cost of your trip. We suggest you play it safe – get a policy that coincides with your travel plans.

Proof of insurance

Demonstrating that you have coverage is generally simple with a certificate from the insurer. There are mixed reports from travelers whether they had to show proof of insurance or not.

COVID travel insurance Thailand

COVID Travel Insurance for Thailand

UPDATE 25 January 2023: Proof of vaccination is not required, per the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health. The situation is somewhat fluid, as the government struggles to balance public health concerns with critical tourism imperatives. As far as we can discern, the Covid insurance requirement remains in place. Check with your airline before you travel to be sure you won’t run into problems upon entry.

Coverage amount

Thailand requires a minimum of $10,000 in COVID travel insurance. Just like in Vietnam, healthcare in Thailand is generally cheap, but $10,000 is likely to fall short of fully covering a serious bout of COVID. Again, we recommend you get at least $50,000.

Coverage period

Logically and practically, the length of coverage should be the same as the visit. 

Proof of insurance

Demonstrating that you have coverage is generally simple with a certificate from the insurer.

What does this travel insurance update mean?

We have heard that the authorities aren’t always enforcing the new requirements but we strongly suggest that travelers to Vietnam or Thailand take the time and effort to be certain they have COVID travel insurance that meets the new requirements. Just as important, travelers should always have a reasonable level of health insurance coverage to ensure their safety when away from home.

For most, this will mean coverage of at least $50,000 that extends for the length of the stay. The difference in your price between $10,000 in coverage and $50,000 is genuinely small. And COVID isn’t the only bad thing that might happen to you on your vacation. Don’t forget to bring your insurance certificate to the airport.

What are my options for COVID travel insurance?

If you’re contemplating a trip to Vietnam or Thailand, you have essentially three health insurance options:

1. Existing health insurance

Depending on a wide variety of factors, your existing health insurance policy may already meet your needs. Talk to your representative to understand whether it would cover you in Southeast Asia, what restrictions might apply, etc. They should be able to give you a certificate to show the authorities.

2. COVID travel insurance

Much of the  “travel insurance with COVID coverage” offered by credit cards, banks, airlines, etc. doesn’t include any meaningful health insurance, but there are some quality travel health insurance products available that do satisfy the requirements in Vietnam and Thailand.  In addition, they provide coverage for accidents and illnesses other than COVID.

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3. Buying international health insurance

If you haven’t booked a return flight, you should think seriously about whether it’s time to get good international health insurance. Living overseas is not the time and place to take big risks with your health and finances. 

Featured Blog The Ultimate Guide to Health Insurance in Vietnam 2023

Enjoy your trip!

We hope you find this information useful. If your stay in Southeast Asia will be more lengthy than a vacation, Tenzing Pacific Services can help you find more robust international health coverage that suits your needs. We work with more than 40 insurance providers, both local and international, so we can offer a wide range of policy options.

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