the Forums for important updates:
about the Korean Medical Insurance Scheme for foreign employees teaching English
in Korea. (Also read Deceptive Practices) for an item on Medical Insurance.
employees, military personnel, private school employees and their family members
are covered by Korean national health insurance. Foreigners who work at the work
places mentioned above can be covered as employees insured by the national health
insurance program through individual application.
N.B. Foreigners must be enrolled in the NHIC.
is National Health Insurance?
National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC) is the only public insurer managing
the National Health Insurance under the supervision of the Korean Ministry of
Health & Welfare. The insured of NHI can be categorized into employee insured
and the self-employed insured. The NHI is a system where contributions made by
the insured are consolidated into a fund and insurance benefits are provided upon
their need. The system aims to share the burden among the insured persons and
provide medical services.
contribution of insured employees including the government and private school
employees is based on the income of the insured;
You are legally obliged under Korean law (Revised January 2006) to have health
who have correctly completed their Alien Registration as a foreign worker at Korean
Immigration Bureau can make an application for the enrollment of national health
insurance at the NHIC.
foreign workers should make an application for enrollment to their employer who
is then responsible for remitting the application to the office with the required
documents. The enrollment is retroactive to the date of employment.
to the Health Insurance Act, the Insurance Finance Committee established that
the National Health Insurance Corporation was allowed to set the contribution
rate for the employed insured at less than 8% of monthly wages and salaries. The
contribution rate of the employed insured is 3.94% for ordinary employees and
for government and private school employees. The contribution of the employed
insured is borne by both employee and employer, or as set out in your contract.
ordinary employees, the employer pays 50% of the contribution and the employee
pays the other 50%.
private school employees, the owner of the private school pays only 30% of the
contribution; the government subsidizes 20% of the contribution and the employee
pays the other 50%.
Care Benefits and Costs
benefit package for foreigner is the same as for Korean nationals. When the insured
person and qualifying dependents, no matter whether they are foreigners or Korean
nationals, get health care service at the health care facilities, they have to
pay as follows;
treatment at the hospitals and medical clinics: 20%-50% of the total charges applicable
prescription drugs filled at the pharmacy: 30% of the total charges applicable
of diseases that do not hinder work or daily living, and the cost of drugs and
medical materials for simple fatigue, hair loss, freckles, warts, hirsutism, acne,
impotence, hereditary deformity of genitals, simple snoring, plastic surgery,
cure of sequela, and operation to correct eyesight are not covered by the health
information about NHIC benefits can be found at http://www.nhic.or.kr/
order to ensure the early detection and treatment of chronic degenerative diseases
such as hypertension, diabetes, liver diseases and pulmonary tuberculosis, NHIC
is providing a health check-up service for the insured and their dependents once
every two years. Foreigners in the Korean medical scheme for more than 2 years
can receive an examination free of charge.
are NOT entitled to receive care at any private clinic or hospital. You must always
only report to local government operated clinics or hospitals if you wish to use
your Korean medical card for subsidized treatment.
stage and second stage treatments.
Beneficiaries are required to receive first-stage
health care treatments and then second-stage health care treatments (performed
at tertiary care hospitals) in due sequence except in cases such as: emergency
situations, giving birth to a child; receiving dental treatments. First-stage
health care treatments refer to the cases when beneficiaries receive health care
treatments at institutions other than tertiary care hospitals.
intending to receive first-stage health care treatments, beneficiaries should
submit their health insurance cards.
intending to receive second-stage health care treatments, beneficiaries should
submit their health insurance cards with a referral paper from the doctor who
provided first-stage health care treatments or the results of a health check up
with the doctor's opinion that the patient is diagnosed as needing further medical
health insurance cards are not submitted, beneficiaries can request eligibility
confirmation from the NHIC. The NHIC, after receiving this request, sends confirmation
to health care institutions, which enables beneficiaries to receive the necessary
treatment. When beneficiaries do not submit health insurance cards or their eligibilities
are not confirmed by the NHIC, they can receive insurance coverage through confirmation
by phone or on the Internet.
must be a correctly registered resident in Korea and hold an Alien Card to be
registered for the scheme. The insurance is a medical scheme only and not applicable
to any other issue or situation that may happen whilst in Korea during your travels.
You should always take advice before departure from your home country about other
travel costs and applicable insurance's. NOTE: some insurance may not cover you
if you are a registered resident with a working visa in another country.
Comparison of International and Korean Medical Insurance
you gain employment in Korea, you will be faced with the option of accepting the
Korean medical scheme coverage that by law must be offered to you by your employer,
or taking your own comprehensive cover from your country of origin.
are a number of private insurance providers in Korea and your employer may be
able to select between membership in one of these schemes or in the Korean scheme.
Being a member of a Korean medical scheme will allows you to visit the majority
of Korean doctors, clinics and hospitals within your residential area and gain
access to medical help.
you are going to be taking the Korean health insurance option, you will not have
any coverage until your school has correctly registered you at immigration for
an alien residency card.
procedure should be done as soon as possible after you enter the country with
an E2 visa stamp in your passport. Your employer is also required to complete
final paperwork and register you at the local education board.
you have entered without your E2 visa stamped into your passport, you will have
to wait until you have received the final visa stamp in your passport (most likely
after a trip to Japan).
'Alien registration card' process must legally be completed within 90 days of
your entry into Korea. The cost for completing this registration is minimal (approximately
$15US). Until you have the card returned to you, it could be extremely difficult
to attend a Korean clinic for medical help, as you would not have the required
documentation of your residency status. Your employer is also required to register
you in the Korean medical scheme, and in turn you should receive a small card
(booklet) showing your membership and financial status.
our experience over 70% of individual schools do not correctly register their
teachers into any medical scheme and instead may just deduct an employee contribution
and hope that you will not know how the medical payments work! If you have a medical
emergency, often the school just elects to pay your doctors bills, or you find
you do not have correct coverage.
you have been registered correctly and have your Alien Registration card, and
medical registration card, the Korean scheme is an excellent, basic coverage to
access cheaper medical care. However, be aware that it is basic medical coverage
only, and you are not covered in any way for any other problems that can occur
while in Korea, and you will have no insurance coverage as soon as you leave Korea
and travel to another country.
is important, as most teachers in Korea will travel to countries close by, such
as Japan, China and Vietnam at some time during their contract time in Korea.
you elect to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance cover policy from your
home country, you must purchase a policy that covers you in a working situation.
few schools will fully insist on joining you into the Korean scheme, even if you
have taken your own insurance. You may find that schools do this for you and other
schools may get you to sign a statement to prove you have your own cover, or ask
for proof of your policy to check the cover it offers.
it is a matter of personal choice how you arrange your insurance coverage while
working in Korea.
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