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  • Living in Korea
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  • Health and Healthcare

Health and Healthcare

National Health Insurance

Overview of National Health Insurance

Health Insurance Card
Health Insurance Card

Korea implements a health insurance system wherein a person pays a certain monthly premium according to his/her income and assets.

Subscribers to the national health insurance can access medical services at a low price if they are sick, give birth, or simply want to have a regular medical check-up. All citizens are required to subscribe to the national health insurance, with the exception of beneficiaries of medical aid. Subscribers to the national health insurance system can be categorized into local subscribers and employee subscribers. All employees of businesses, employers, public officers and teachers are categorized as employee subscribers. Those whose livelihood depends on the income of employee subscribers may be registered as the subscribers' dependents if meeting the dependence requirements and income requirements as set forth in the Enforcement Decree of National Health. Other subscribers and the family members supported by employee subscribers are categorized as local subscribers.

For company subscribers, the company pays for 50% of the medical insurance fee (applies only for salaries taken from company), and individuals have to pay the remaining 50%. Individuals who have separate income exceeding 72 million won must pay the full amount. When a health insurance policyholder receives treatment from a hospital, the National Health Insurance Corporation pays a portion of the medical fee, and the policyholder is required to pay only the remaining balance.

Foreign Residents Who Are Required to Subscribe to the National Health Insurance

Foreign residents who are registered and work at businesses where employee subscriber policies are applied, or foreign residents who are appointed as public officers and teachers, are granted the status of employee subscribers. Foreign residents who are registered and who are not categorized as an employee subscriber or a dependent of an employee subscriber may gain the status of local subscribers upon request after having lived in Korea for three months or longer. Local subscribers must maintain the statute of residence as prescribed in the Attached Table 9 of the Enforcement Decree of the National Health Insurance Act while having stayed in Korea for three months or more. Foreign residents who have not yet been in Korea for three months may subscribe to the national health insurance plan if there is a clear reason for a stay of more than three months, such as studies or marriage based immigration.

How to Register

When Your Husband Is an Insured Employee

Submit documents confirming dependency to the National Health Insurance Corporation.

Required documents: A certificate listing you as your husband/wife’s dependent, a copy of your alien registration card, and a certificate of Family Relations

Dependent
A person who does not have a significant income, and depends on his or her spouse
When a Married Immigrant Woman Is Employed
  • When a married immigrant woman is employed by a company to which employee subscriber policies are applied, she is automatically registered for National Health Insurance.
  • The company must submit a copy of the worker’s alien registration card and other necessary documents to the National Health Insurance Corporation.
When Both the Husband and the Married Immigrant Woman Are Unemployed
  • Self-employed, day workers, or those who are not employed by a company may apply for National Health Insurance as a Local Subscriber.
  • To enroll, visit the office of the National Health Insurance Corporation in the area of your residence and submit a copy of your alien registration card and your insurance application. Married immigrant women may apply without being accompanied by their husbands.

Benefits

  • People with insurance will be provided with medical treatment at hospitals, clinics, and oriental medicine clinics at a moderate price. A small fee will be charged for medical examinations and treatment.
  • People with insurance will be provided with medical checkups. The number of checkups provided will differ depending on age. Most people with insurance have a medical checkup every other year.

Payment of Insurance Premium

Employee Subscribers
  • Payment of Premium: Monthly premiums are deducted from monthly salary and are remitted by the employers.
  • As for employee subscribers, monthly premiums are deducted from monthly salary (50% being paid by the employee and 50% by the employer), and monthly income premiums should be paid by individuals in relation with composite income excluding remuneration (in case of exceeding KRW 72 million)
Local Subscribers
  • Payment of Premium: Insurance fees are due every month and must be paid by the 10th day of the following month. For foreign residents and visiting foreigners, the monthly insurance fee must be paid 1 month in advance (by the 25th of the previous month), after 3 months of stay.
  • Foreigners with F-1~2 or F-5~6 stay qualification pay insurance fees every month using the same pay schedule as Korean citizens.
Note
If a person has the status of stay which allows health insurance subscription, and when the status of the spouse is verified, regardless of the status of stay (F-6), the subscriber may join the household of Korean citizens and pay monthly premiums under the same standards applied to Korean citizens.

Counseling and Inquiries

For detailed information on premiums, qualifications, and benefits of national health insurance, visit the website of the National Health Insurance Corporation or call 1577-1000 (for English information, call (☎033-811-2000)).

Website of the National Health Insurance Corporation, http://www.nhis.or.kr

Medical Benefit System

The medical benefit system aims to subsidize medical fees for citizens who cannot pay medical bills due to financial difficulty. Foreigners are not qualified for medical benefits, with the exception of specific cases outlined in the National Basic Living Security Act. When a person who qualifies for this assistance undergoes medical treatment due to disease, injury or childbirth, the government pays the hospital or clinic fee.

Qualifications

Recipients of National Basic Livelihood Security (including foreigners) are eligible for the medical allowance.

Who can receive medical care assistance : Type 1 Beneficiary and Type 2 Beneficiary profiles.
Primary Recipients Secondary Recipients
Recipients of national basic living security (households unable to provide labor services), men of national merit, people deemed intangible cultural assets, defectors from North Korea, people who were active in the 18 democratization movement, adopted children (under 18 years old), the homeless, etc. Recipients of the National Basic Livelihood Security System (families that have family members who are able to work)

Fees to Be Charged to Recipients

Payments due from a medical care assistance recipient : Costs of hospitalization, outpatient service, and costs covered by pharmacies.
Classification Primary Recipients
Hospitalization Free of charge
Outpatient medical treatment
  • Clinics (1,000 won)
  • hospitals (1,500 won)
  • tertiary medical centers (authorized medical institutions) (2,000 won)
Pharmacies 500 won (per prescription)
Classification Secondary Recipients
Hospitalization 10% of medical fees
Outpatient medical treatment
  • Clinics (1,000 won)
  • hospitals (15% of medical fees)
  • tertiary medical centers (15% of medical fees)
Pharmacies 500 won (per prescription)

Procedures of Medical Benefits

Applicants should first apply for medical benefits at their primary medical benefit organization before applying at secondary medical benefit organizations and tertiary medical benefit organization (exceptions apply).

  1. Primary
    Medical practitioners’ offices and public health centers
    • Return
      (Return of referral for medical benefit)
    • Request
      (Letter of medical
      benefit coverage request)
  2. Secondary
    Clinics and general hospitals
    • Return
      (Return of referral for medical benefit)
    • Request
      (Letter of medical
      benefit coverage request)
  3. Tertiary
    Tertiary medical benefit organizations (25)
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