Korea National Health Insurance Service
Health Insurance for Foreign Residents
This section addresses how the Korean National Health Insurance System directly affect foreign residents. However, you must ensure that you are fully informed. Look at the web NHIS entitled Health Insurance in the Working and Business tab under Salary Deductions/Benefits for basic details.
Foreigners and the NHIC Program
Foreigners can be covered with the NHI program on the condition that they satisfy some requirements for their coverage. The NHI has become more stringent in the enforcement of the NHI Act and is actively reviewing companies that hire foreigners to ensure the law is followed since some employers are either unaware of their health coverage obligations under the ACT or feel they are exempt when they are not.
Conditions for Enrollment
Those who have registered as foreigners at the Immigration Office and meet some conditions can make an application for enrollment of the National Health Insurance. Those who are the employers or the employees of workplaces in Korea are covered compulsorily as an insuree in the category of the employee insured (for foreign employees having E9 Status of Sojourn, NHI program is compulsory). And those who are excluded from the employee insured and have one of the following statuses of sojourn, F2, F4, D1 9, E1 5, E7 8, and F1 and their family members can be covered as an insuree in the category of the self-employed insured.
Enrollment procedures and documentations required
For the employee coverage, the foreign workers shall make an application for enrollment to the employer of their workplaces who is by law responsible for submitting the application to the National Health Insurance Corporation with the required documentations. The enrollment is retroactive to the date the applicant was employed.
For the self-employed coverage, foreigners shall make an application for enrollment at any nearest NHIC field office located in their residential area, with the certificate of foreign registration and a passport, etc. The enrollment is retroactive to the date the applicant was registered as an alien in Korea.
Imposition of contributions and payment
For the employee insured, the contribution amount is calculated by monthly salary contribution rate (5.33% as of January 2010), and be deducted from the monthly salary (50% of which is shared by the employer). Irrespective of the actual date of enrollment, the obligation of contribution payment is retroactive up to the date the enrollee was employed.
For the self-employed insured, the contribution amount for those who have income is calculated by monthly income contribution rate and, for those who have no income, shall be the equal amount to the average monthly contribution of the Korean self-employed in the previous year, which amounts to somewhere around 50,000 won. The obligation of contribution payment is retroactive up to the date the enrollee was registered as an alien in Korea. Note: foreign nationals whose employers are exempt from enrolling them in the NHIC can apply on their own basically as a self-emloyed person.
For foreign students covered, 30% of the contribution can be reduced and the contributions shall be paid in advance every three months.
Foreign nationals, who have a residence status of F1 or F2, shall pay the contribution amount calculated by the same imposition standard applied to the self-employed on a monthly basis.
The insurance benefits are applied equally to foreign residents. When the insured persons or the dependents get health care services, they share only some portion of the costs as co-payment for the services covered.
Verify Your Healthcare Plan
If you are on a Health Insurance program you must receive a description of the program and documentation (a card or passbook) that proves you are registered. If you are on the National Health Insurance Program you will receive a booklet. If you do not receive anything from your employer, you are not insured. If your employer will not enroll you into a program you can apply to the Government program yourself and the minimum payment will be 60,000 KRW per month with a maximum of 4.77% of your monthly salary. You are either insured or not: your employer cannot guarantee payment of your health care expenses.
For more information and additional details on the health insurance plan and how it may affect you,