Korean Law requires that all foreign workers be covered by the National Health Insurance Corporation. However whether the employer must implement the coverage on behalf of the employee or the employer who must do it himself/herself depends on a number of factors. Employers are not required to provide coverage for employees that work less than 60 hours per month or if they employ fewer than 5 foreigners.
The insurance benefits are the same for foreign residents and Korean nationals and self-employed workers have the same coverage as other workers. Foreign employees working for an employer who is not required to provide coverage can obtain their own health insurance card.
This card may be refused by private clinics and hospitals, but not by government operated clinics and hospitals. Be prepared, however, to have to pay a deposit, even a hefty one, before receiving any treatment – most institutes accept credit cards as well as cash.
Private medical insurance policies and travel insurance can be purchased in Korea if you don’t already have a global insurance plan (see the relevant section for more information).
For more information on benefits call the NPS Central Information Line on 1355 (English-speaker is usually available)
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