Types of health insurance & qualifications for enrollment
National Health Insurance is divided into two types of health insurance: the employee insured (Workplace Health Insurance) and self-employed insured (Community Health Insurance).
The employee insured (Workplace Health Insurance)
Foreigners working at a company with more than five employees are eligible forworkplace medical insurance. The spouses and children under age 20 of foreign employees can also receive medical insurance coverage. The insurance is put in effect when employers enroll their employees in a medical insurance program. By law, the employer is responsible for submitting the employee’s application for national health insurance to the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC). Health insurance coverage starts with the date of employment and ends with the date of termination of employment.
By law, it has been mandatory for foreign employees at workplaces under the NHI to be enrolled for national health insurance since Jan. 1, 2006. However, the required enrollment has become problematic. For instance, many foreigners working in Korea have health insurance from their countries and under the requirement, they should pay different health insurance fees, which can be a double burden. Taking this into account, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced an additional revision to the National Health Insurance, and it has been in effect since July 27, 2007
According to the revision, foreigners or overseas Korean working in Korea who fall under one of the following categories can be exempt from enrollment of health insurance.
- When a foreigner receives medical coverage under foreign lawwhile working in Korea
- When a foreigner receive medical benefits under his/her contract with the employer during the duration of his/her employment in Korea.
Those who intend to stay in Korea for more than one year under one of the following visas can receive health insurance coverage.
- D-1(Culture & arts), D-2 (Study), D-3(Industrial training), D-4 (Training), D-5 (Media coverage), D-6(Religion), D-7 (Stationing), D-8(Corporate investment), D-9 (Trade and management), E- 7(Specific occupation), E-8(Industrial trainee employment), F-3(the Spouses of those with one of the above visas and their children under the age of 20).
- The dependents and children of individuals under an F-1 visa (visiting and joining families)
- A long-term foreign resident in Korea under an F-2 visa (Residence)
- An overseas Korean resident who is in Korea under an F-4 visa (Korean residents abroad)
Self-employed insured (Community Health Insurance).
Those not eligible for Workplace Medical Insurance are entitled to enroll for Community Health Insurance (self-employed insured). For enrollment, a foreigner should submit an application to an NHIC branch office in his/her residential area with the required documents including foreign registration card and passport.
Enrollment procedures and required documents
For health insurance application, a qualified foreigner should submit an application and the required documents to his/her employer. The documents include a copy of the certificate of foreign registration or a copy of a certificate of domestic residence and a certificate of income. Employers are responsible for submitting applications of foreign employees to the National Health Insurance Corporation with the required documentation. For health insurance coverage of the foreigner’s family members, he/she should submit a document verifying family relationship to the employer.
Foreigners receive the same insurance benefits as Koreans do for the health services they use. As insurance benefits, an insured person pays 20~50% of the medical cost at a hospital or clinic and 30% of the drug cost at a pharmacy.
A monthly insurance fee is calculated by the following method.
Monthly premium = monthly wage x contribution rate (5% of monthly salary is paid for as an insurance fee every month and the employer pays 50% of the amount). For the insured employee, the obligation of payment of the insurance fee is retroactive to the date of employment. For the self-employed insured, the obligation of payment of insurance fee is retroactive to the date when the foreigner was registered as a foreigner in Korea.
NHIC Head Office
For more information, contact the head office of theNational Health Insurance Corporation.
- Tel. 1577–1000
- Tel. 02-390-2000 (for foreigners)
- Website: http://www.nhic.or.kr [K, E]
Korea Medical Services
Medical system in Korea
Various medical institutions in Korea including private hospitals, general hospitals, oriental hospitals and public health centers provide high quality medical services through medical specialists and cutting-edge medical equipment. Highly advanced medical fields in Korea include ophthalmology, spine surgery, dentistry, plastic surgery, heart surgery and infertility treatment. With the rapidly increasing number of foreigners visiting or residing in Korea, more medical facilities have opened international clinics and have endeavored to provide medical services that best meet foreigners` medical needs and global standards. Korean medical facilities are categorized into three types by the number of medical departments and the size of the medical facilities. To use thirdtier hospitals, a patient needs a referral letter from a first or second-tier medical facility. If the patient goes directly to a third-tier hospital without a referral letter, he/she cannot receive medical insurance coverage and will have to pay the high medical costs. Foreigners can use medical services from international clinics in third-tier hospitals directly, however, it ismore costly.
First-tier medical facilities
These types of facilities include private hospitals and public health centers. First-tier medical facilities have a limited number of medical departments and provide a comprehensivemedical service for treating and preventing early symptoms of diseases.
Second-tier medical facilities
Second-tier medical facilities have medical specialists and more than 4 medical departments and provide medical services for both inpatients and outpatients. In general, these types of facilities have 30 to 500 beds. Emergency treatment is available.
Third-tier medical facilities General hospitals or hospitals belonging to medical schools are categorized as third-tier medical facilities. These types of facilities have medical specialists in all different medical departments, more than 500 hospital beds and offer specialized medical services for emergencies.
How to make medical appointments
To receive fast and convenient treatment it is recommended that you make medical appointments in advance. You can make appointments by visiting or calling the hospital. Also, appointments are available through faxor the hospitalwebsite.Whenyou visit a hospital tomake an appointment, bring your insurance card with you. Fill out an appointment application form and submit it at the Patient AffairsDepartment window.
Paying for medical treatment
For payment of medical costs, you need to go to the Administration office of the hospital. Most hospitals take credit cards for payment. At some hospitals with international clinics, you can pay the medical fees through the international clinics. Or international clinics can assist you in preparing documents needed for the payment. In general, many hospitals can provide English receipts for medical treatment performed. The medical expenses vary depending on whether you have insurance or not. Some hospitals accept overseas health insurance from the insurance companies the hospital is affiliated with. For overseas health insurance coverage, the foreigner needs to pay first and submit a claim to his/her insurance company.
Medical referral service
The Seoul Global Center (SGC) launched by the Seoul Metropolitan Government operates a 24- hour Medical Referral Service (MRS) for foreigners. Its medically trained, English-speaking staff provides foreigners in Korea with information and recommendations on medical facilities and services. The MRS team has striven to provide quality medical information by regularly visiting medical facilities that offer medical services for foreigners and by seeking feedback from foreigners who have used the services.
- Hours: regular hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), emergency only (8 p.m. to 8 a.m.)
- Tel: 010-4769-8212 or 010-8750-8212 - E-mail: email@example.com
International SOS Korea Ltd.
International SOS Korea Ltd. provides medical assistance services and evacuation and repatriation services for expatriates in Korea. Its trained doctors offer medical advice over the phone 24 hours and the service is available in the following languages: English, Japanese and French. However, the service is available only to members.
- Tel. 02-3140-1700 (24 hours)
For emergency situations, call 119. With your call, the caller`s location is automatically identified. The 119 rescue team will react quickly to meet the caller`s needs, offering professional medical assistance such as sending an ambulance and taking patients to the nearest hospital. The 119 ambulance is free of charge. When a foreigner calls 119, the staff in the situation room connects the call with a translator of the Korea National Tourism Organization (KNTO). Through a three way call with the translator and the staff member in the situation room, the foreign caller can effectively communicate his/her needs and obtain assistance. Languages available for translation services include English, Japanese and Chinese. Those who call outside Seoul can use translation
services provided by BBB (Before Babel Brigade). When you use a wired phone or mobile phone, dial 119 without the area code. When you call 119 from a pay phone, press the red button for emergency and dial 119. When you call 119 from a wired phone or mobile phone, your phone number and location are automatically identified. You can visit the following website: www.119.go.kr [K] and report emergencies online 24 hours a day by completing an application form in either Korean or English. Reporting emergencies is also possible through mobile text messaging at 119 and fax at 1544-9119.
1339 is the number of the Emergency Medical Information Center. When you call 1339, Englishspeaking doctors assist foreigners, providing them with relevant medical information on emergency situations 24 hours. To use the service, dial 1339 directly without area codes. However, when you call by a mobile phone or outside Seoul, dial 02-1339.
General hospitals with international clinics in Seoul
Asan Medical Center
- Address: 388-1 Pungnap-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-3010-5001
- Emergency: Tel. 02-3010-3333
- Website: http://www.amc.seoul.kr/eng [K, E, C, J]
- Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (weekdays)
- Transportation: walk ten minutes from Exit 1 of Seongnae Station on Line 2 or Take bus 4318 from Exit 3
Cha Medical Center
●International Health Services (IHS)
- Address: 650-9 Yeoksam-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-3468-3127
- Emergency: 010-9161-3117 (available 24 hours)
- Website: http://kangnam.chamc.co.kr/ic/ [K, E]
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (weekdays) / 8:30 am to 12:30 pm (Saturdays) – hours for OB/GYN patients are extended to 5 pm
- Transportation: walk ten minutes from Exit 7 of Yeoksam Station on Line 2 in the direction of Donghodaegyo or walk fifteen minutes from Exit 3 of Hakdong Station on Line 7 in the direction of Yeoksam Station
Hanyang University Medical Center
●International Healthcare Center
- Tel. 02- 2290-9553
- 24 Hour Emergency Care Center (English support): Tel. 02-2290-8282 / 016-379-7534 (English support), 010-6270-2296 (English support)
- Website: http://hmc.hanyang.ac.kr [K, E]
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays)
- Transportation: Hanyang Univ. Station (Lines 2, 7, exit 1)
Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine
- Address: 635 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-3218-2167(English) / 02-3218-2106/2169 (Japanese)
- Website: http://www.jaseng.net [K, E, J]
- Transportation: If you turn left from Exit 2 of Apgujeong Station on Line 3, about ten meters ahead you will see a Baskin Robbins, and from there, you can either take the shuttle bus or walk all the way (a ten-minute walk in the direction of Seongsudaegyo).
Gangnam St. Mary`s Hospital
●International Health Care Center (IHC)
- Address: 505 Banpo-dong, Seocho-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02- 590-2932
- Website: http://www.cmckangnam.or.kr/eng/main/ index.jsp [K, E, C, J]
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (weekdays) – lunch hour: 12:00 ~ 13:30 / English, Chinese, Russian, Japanese translation available
- Transportation: Seocho Station (Line 2, Exit 7) / From the Express Bus Terminal Station (Line 3, Exit 2, 7 / Line 7, Exit 3, 4) in the direction of the Catholic University of Korea, College of Medicine
Samsung Medical Center
●International Health Services (IHS)
- Address: 50 Irwon-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02- 3410-0200/ emergency: Tel. 02- 3410-2060
- Website: http://english.samsunghospital.com [K, E, C]
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (weekdays)
- Transportation: Irwon Station (Line 3, exit 1)
Seoul National University Hospital
- Address: 28 Yeongeon-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-2072-2890/0505 or 013-0484-0505(English, Japanese support 24 hours)
● In an emergency, you can obtain information on where the nearest hospital is and which hospitals have English-language support.
- Website: http://www.snuh.org/pub/index_frame.jsp [K, E, J, C, M, R etc.-supports 14 languages, but for some languages, translation service is not available]
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weekdays) / 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Saturdays)
- Email: email@example.com
- Transportation: Hyehwa Station (Line 4, exit 3)
● SNU Healthcare System Gangnam Center, the newly established health diagnosis center of Seoul National University Hospital, specializes in comprehensive health examinations. The topnotch medical staff of the Center has striven to contribute to preventing diseases and improving people`s health through state-of-the-art medical equipment, an early health diagnosis system and a disease prevention program. The Center provides medical services for foreigners and refers patients to Seoul National University Hospital or other affiliated hospitals for further medical care.
- Address:38th,39th,40thFloor,737GangnamFinance Center,Yeoksam-dong,Gangnam-gu,Seoul
- Tel. 02-2112-5503
- Website: http://healthcare.snuh.org (Internet reservation available) [K, E]
- Clinic Hours: 7:30 am to 4:00 pm (weekdays) / 7:30 am to 1:00 pm (every other Saturday)
- Hours for reservation: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays) / 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Saturdays)
- Transportation: Yeoksam Station (Line 2, exit 2)
Severance Hospital: Yonsei University Hospital
●International Health Care Center (IHCC)
- Address: 134 Sinchon-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
- Tel 02- 2228-5800/ emergency: 010-9948-0983
- Website: http://www.yuhs.or.kr/en [K, E, J, C, R]
● Translation service available in all languages except Russian. English translation always available. Doctors who can speak Japanese or Chinese are available.
- Hours: 9:30a.m. to 12:00p.m., 2:00p.m. to 5:00p.m. (weekdays) / 9:30 amto 12:00 pm (Saturdays)
- Transportation: Go straight out of Sinchon Station, Exit 3 (Line 2). The hospital is located on the right side of Yonsei University.
Soonchunhyang University Hospital
- -Address: 657-58 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-709-9158 / emergency: 02-709-9117~9
- Website: http://www.schuh.ac.kr [K, E, J, S] * Doctors who can speak Spanish or Portuguese are available.
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (weekdays) / 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (Saturdays)
- Transportation: Take bus in front of Dankook University (No. 110, 140, 142, 144, 400, 402, 405, 420, 470, 471, 472)
Yongdong Severance Medical Center
●International Health Care Center (IHCC)
- Address: 142-92 Dogok-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-2019-3600 /Emergency: 2019-3333/2019-2222
- Website: http://www.yuhs.or.kr [K, E, J, C, R]
- Hours: 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (weekdays)
- Transportation: Dogok Station (Line 3, Exit 2) / Nonhyeon Station (Line 7, Exit 2) / Seolleung Station (Line 2, Exit 1)
Oriental medicine is different from Western-style medicine in that oriental hospitals provide traditional medical treatment including acupuncture and herbal medicine. Oriental medical treatment help strengthen the body`s immune system, relieve pain and other symptoms and restore balance and harmony in the body. Kyunghee University Hospital is the largest and most renowned oriental hospital in the nation.
The following oriental hospitals offer medical services for foreigners.
Kyunghee University Oriental Hospital
- 02-958-8114 / http://www.khmc.or.kr [K, E, J, C] - Exit Hoegi Station (Line 1, Exit 1), last stop of Maeul Bus No. 01
Good Neighbor Clinic at Kyungdong Church
Good Neighbor Clinic operated by Kyungdong Church provides free medical services for foreign workers living in Korea. Medical departments in the Clinic include internal medicine, surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, dentistry, dermatology, oriental medicine and clinical pathology.
- Address: Kyungdong Church, 26-6 Jangchung dong 1-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02- 2274-0161
- Hours: 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. (the first and third Sundays of the month)
- Transportation: Dongdaemun Stadium Station (Line 2, 4, 5, exit 4), Dongguk Univ. Station (Line 3, exit 2, 3)
Migrant Workers` Hospital
Migrant Workers` Hospital provides medical services free of charge to migrant workers who cannot afford high medical costs. Medical departments in the hospital include internal medicine, surgery, orthopedics, obstetrics and gynecology, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, dentistry, neurology, orientalmedicine, etc.
- Address: 137-22 Garibong-dong, Guro-gu, Seoul
- Tel. 02-863-9966
- Website: http://www.mwhospital.com [K]
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (weekdays) / 1 pm to 6 pm (Sundays) — Reservation hours: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. (weekdays) / 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (Sundays)
●Many patients are awaiting treatment. Please be there at the appointed time.
●Treatment is availableonSaturdaysonceamonth. ●Need a telephone inquiry before your visit.