LIVE IN SEOUL
Types of health insurance & qualifications for enrollment
National health Insurance is divided into two main types: employee insurance (Workplace Health Insurance) and self-employed insurance (Community Health Insurance).
Foreigners working for a company with more than five employees are eligible for workplace medical insurance. Spouses and children under the age of 20 of foreign employees can also receive medical insurance coverage. The insurance is put into 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 from 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 this requirement they might have to pay two different health insurance fees, which can be a 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 Koreans working in Korea who fall into one of the following categories can be exempt from enrollment of health insurance.
- When a foreigner receives medical coverage under foreign law while working in Korea
- When a foreigner receives medical benefits under his/her contract with the employer for 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. This includes all 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).
Those not eligible for Workplace Medical Insurance are entitled to enroll for Community Health Insurance (self-employed insurance). 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.