South Korea to toughen health insurance rules for expatriates

Published:  5 Oct at 6 PM
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The South Korean government is to revise the rules by which expats and Korean citizens living overseas access its national health insurance system.

According to the Korean government, the toughening up of its national health insurance regulations is the result of the exploitation of loopholes in the system by expats, allowing expensive treatments to be provided for small payments. The changes will take effect from early this December, according to the Korean Ministry of Health.

It would seem foreigners have been taking advantage of the system by travelling to Korea and staying for three months, thus becoming eligible to join the country’s health insurance plan and using it to get the necessary treatment at inexpensive prices. As a result, the residential qualification is to be extended to six months, although it won’t affect expatriates whose companies cover their private health insurance.

In addition, health insurance premiums will increase for expatriates who’ve been paying low rates due to not having any registered property or income generated in South Korea. Overseas subscribers will be forced to pay higher premiums than the averages paid by locals and expats, and foreigners on F1 and F2 visas and stay permits will also need to pay the same premiums as other expatriates in the country. To ensure premiums are paid when due, expats who don’t pay will lose immigration approval for visa extensions and re-entry permits.
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