SEOUL – In a bid to control healthcare costs, the authorities in South Korea have revealed that the country plans to implement stricter criteria for national health insurance coverage for foreign nationals.
The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) made this announcement on Wednesday under which from April this year, foreign nationals must live in Korea for over six months to qualify for state health insurance coverage, as per the revised National Health Insurance Act.
Previously, both foreign and Korean nationals, including spouses, children, and immediate family members of salaried workers, received health benefits without considering their stay duration, provided they met specific criteria based on income and assets.
The revised policy aims to prevent free riders from exploiting the system, arriving in Korea solely for health benefits in times of need.
To ensure that family members of diplomats or businesspeople aren’t excluded from insurance benefits upon arrival in Korea, the regulation allows minors (those under 19), spouses, and foreign nationals with D-2 or D-4-3 student visas, E-9 migrant worker visas, F-5 permanent resident visas, and F-6 marriage visas to immediately receive health care benefits.
Conversely, the revision mandates that parents of foreign spouses of South Korean passport holders, previously eligible as dependents must now meet the six-month residency criteria to access the health insurance scheme.
These measures reflect ongoing efforts by health authorities to adjust eligibility standards for foreigners, ensuring healthcare benefits are genuinely accessible to those in need.
South Korea is located on the Korean Peninsula in East Asia with a population of approximately 51 million people. Renowned for its technological advancements, vibrant culture, and economic prowess, South Korea is a dynamic nation with a rich history and a global influence in various fields.