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]