Korean Law requires that all foreign workers be covered by the National Health Insurance Corporation. However whether the employer implements this for the employee or the employer has to do it for him- or herself depends on a number of factors. Employers are not required to provide coverage for employees who work less than 60 hours per month or if they have fewer than 5 foreign employees.
If you have private health insurance it is important to note that most doctors and hospitals do not accept direct billing to the health insurance company, regardless of whether it is an overseas or a domestic firm. They usually demand payment before treatment and clients have to settle with their company for a re-imbursement afterwards. It is therefore very important for you to make sure that insurance and/or funds are available in case you need medical attention.
Buying private medical insurance over the internet is a simple process, you will just need to provide your credit card details, your permanent address and contact info, and then you will receive you policy document by e-mail. Pay attention to what your policy will actually cover before buying. Do you intend to do winter or water sports? Do you have any illness or disability that needs to be declared? Such factors will affect the overall cost of your policy. Once your policy document comes through keep it in a safe place and always have the emergency telephone number of your insurance company and your policy number on your person when you travel.
Check with your credit card company before going: some credit card companies offer travel insurance if you use their card to purchase the flight, rent a car and/or reserve hotels and excursions.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Seoul is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in South Korea. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in South Korea: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in South Korea, visit our partner APRIL International