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National Health Insurance System

National Health Insurance System
Under the national health insurance system, every Korean resident is required to pay a certain amount of monthly health insurance contribution depending on their income level and assets.
The national health insurance policyholders are categorized into employer-provided and locally-provided policyholders. Workers and employers of all workplaces, public officials, and school employees are employer-provided policyholders.
Foreigners Eligible for Health Insurance
Foreign residents who are registered and work at business where health insurance is applied as well as foreign residents who are appointed or employed as public officials or school employees are granted the status of employer-provided policyholders.
Foreign residents who are registered but not categorized as an employee-provided policyholder or a dependent may gain the status of locally-provided policyholders.
Such locally-provided policyholders must maintain the status of sojourn stipulated in Attached Table 9 of the Enforcement Rules of the National Health Insurance Act. Foreign residents who have resided in Korea for at least six months will automatically be granted the qualification for the locally-provided policy. Foreigners who have been residing in Korea for less than six months can also apply for national health insurance coverage if there are reasons to believe the applicant will reside in Korea for at least six months subsequently for study or marriage.
Enrollment Process
When your spouse is an insured employee
Applicants may register as dependents on the health insurance policy of their spouses. Documents to verify the eligibility of dependents must be submitted to the National Health Insurance Service.
Required documents : Dependent eligibility acquisition report, a copy of alien registration card, family relations certificate
When a foreigner is an employee
Foreigners are enrolled in the national health insurance program if they work at businesses where employee subscriber policies are applied. In this case, employers must submit copies of applicants’ alien registration cards and other required documents to the National Health Insurance Service.
When both a foreigner and his or her Korean spouse are not employees
Foreigners who identify as self-employed, engage in day labor, or do not have workplaces can apply for locally-provided insurance policies. Foreigners are automatically enrolled in the national health insurance once they have resided in Korea for at leasts six months. If a health insurance card has not been yet issued, a foreigner can visit a branch office of the National Health Insurance Service in the area of their residence and submit a copy of an alien registration card and an insurance application. Foreigners may apply for insurance unaccompanied.

Medical Care System in Korea

Medical Care System
Korea has 3,494 medical institutions across the country, including 353 general hospitals, 1,526 hospitals, 1,594 skilled nursing facilities, and 21 military hospitals.
Medical Care System : Category,Clinics,Hospitals and General Hospitals,Tertiary Hospitals
Category Clinics Hospitals and General Hospitals Tertiary Hospitals
Subjects Mostly outpatients Mostly inpatients Mostly patients with severe diseases
Major tasks Basic medical services for common diseases Hospitalization and surgical patient care Medical care for serious illnesses which requires high levels of expertise including surgical and medical procedures
Comprehensive medical services including disease prevention and medical consultation Treatment for patients requiring specialized care for different specialties Treatment for patients with diseases with high rates of lethality or complication
Healthcare services for public health promotion Treatment for inpatients with chronic diseases in need of long-term care Treatment for patients requiring care from multiple specialties and utilization of specific medical facilities and equipment
The Korean medical system separates prescribing and dispensing of medication. Drugs are divided into prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs. Over-the-counter drugs include a variety of medicines for cold, digestion, fever and pain relief, ointments, and diarrhea, etc.
Products that are not drugs, such as pesticides, sanitary pads, health supplement drinks, and condoms, can be purchased at retail stores, including convenience stores, in addition to pharmacies. Following the recent legislative amendment, some medicines for cold, digestion, fever and pain relief, and pain relief patches can be purchased at convenience stores.
Hospitals and Pharmacies Available on Weekends
Online emergency medical service system E-gen ( – Language: English) The National Emergency Medical Center (NEMC) develops detailed procedures and manages information about all emergencies and the current status of emergency departments of hospitals across the country. The NEMC runs E-gen to enable the public to access emergency medical services quickly and easily through improved quality of emergency medical care at accident sites and hospitals, enhanced networks, cooperation among relevant parties, and incorporation of advanced IT. (Visit the website for more information on hospitals, pharmacies, emergency centers, steps to use automated external defibrillator (AEDs), and emergency care.)