Before leaving to study abroad in Korea, you should make sure you are familiar with Korean health insurance and fully understand your coverage. You don’t want to be caught off-guard if something happens and you are sick or injured during your stay.
Health care in South Korea is provided by a compulsory National Health Insurance (NHI). Every person living in South Korea is eligible for this insurance, regardless of nationality or profession. This means that you, as an international student studying in Korea, are eligible, as foreigners who are living in South Korea and are registered with the National Health Insurance Corporation receive the same medical benefits and services as Korean nationals.
The NHI program of South Korea’s main sources of finance are contributions from the insured and government subsidy. The benefit package consists of benefits in-kind and benefits in-cash on the whole. The insurance benefits are the same for all contributors, whether they be Korean nationals or no; there is no difference in the eyes of the Law when it comes to the National Health Insurance Program.
When you get health care services through the NHI program, co-payments will be applied according to the type of health care institution. The amount of co-payment you will have to pay varies according to where the care is given and the type of care that you receive. Generally speaking, co-payment amounts are 20 per cent of inpatient hospital care, 30-50 per cent of outpatient hospital care, and 35-40 per cent of pharmacy bills.
If you are a document foreign resident in South Korea, you can enroll in the Korean National Health Insurance plan. A few years ago, a law passed that requires all foreign workers being enrolled in the NHI system. There are, however, a few exceptions. For example, if the company in question is providing international medical coverage, then it does not need to re-insure its foreign staff. In addition, some local companies are also exempt because of their size, etc. However, anyone who wishes to enroll in the NHS system may do so. You will find that the cost is much lower than medical insurance plans in most Western countries.
Because the rates are based on the percentage of earning, they are adjusted each spring to reflect any changes in salary, bonuses, etc. These adjustments are reflected in the April contribution; any increase that occurs is not part of the annual contribution rise, but a reflection of a rise in the contributor’s income. This increase also occurs if the employer in question declared a lower salary over the past year than what was actually earned and is based on each employee’s year-end tax settlement at the end of March. If the annual salary is lower than what was declared, the contributor’s rate will decreased in April.
Many Korean residents also opt to join a private health insurance scheme in addition to the National Health Insurance, to provide more comprehensive cover than what is provided by the NHI.