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Korean National Health Plan.... necessary?
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Eazy_E



Joined: 30 Oct 2003
Location: British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 9:10 pm    Post subject: Korean National Health Plan.... necessary? Reply with quote

I'm having a dilemma about my health-care needs in Korea. I'm a young, healthy person who rarely needs medical care of any kind. I'm on the Korean National Health Plan here, which takes a chunk of my salary every month.

Before I came to Korea, I bought travel health insurance. It was 6 months' worth and for someone like me it costs about $1 Cdn. a day. It will cover any emergency situation, ie. getting hit by a bus, breaking a leg, anything where I would require medical attention.

Does anyone know whether the Korean health plan is NECESSARY, or should I only make sure that I'm covered for emergencies. I don't want to take unnecessary risks, I just want to make sure that I don't pay for something that I really don't need. Any advice?
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prairieboy



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Location: The batcave.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before anyone else says it...have you searched the site for information yet?

I believe a similar question came up before...maybe a month or two back now.

From what I've read and what has been my experience there are conflicting views on whether NHIC (the Korean national health plan) is necessary/mandatory.

From my understanding it is not mandatory for a foreigner to join the NHIC plan. However, when you do join you may be assessed back premiums to the time you actually arrived in Korea. This did not happen to me when I first joined but may be the case at present.

There is also the possibility that you may not be able to withdraw once you are a member. Apparently, you must not be resident in the country for 3 consecutive months to withdraw from the plan. Regardless of changing jobs, once you are in, then you are in for good.

Again, this has not been my experience. I was out of country for 2 weeks after completing my contract. I called the main NHIC number (which I found by searching waterbaby's FAQ's in the FAQ archives). With the help of a Korean friend, I obtained the number for my local office and asked whether I was still enrolled or not. To my surprise and contrary to everything I had read on this board about NHIC, I was no longer a member after my contract had terminated.

I did find out that I can join voluntarily, without going through my employer, but I have not asked whether I can withdraw voluntarily at any time of my choosing.

Best bet is to look through waterbaby's FAQ's for info on NHIC and get the phone number. If the person there can't answer the question, then get the number for you local office and ask them. They should be able to tell you.

Be aware, there may be an overriding law that is supposed to govern the NHIC but each office may have a policy that is completely opposite of the law, whatever it may be. The NHIC homepage is not exactly clear on the withdrawl question (I believe it's not actually addressed on their homepage, it's been a while since I looked at it).

Check it out and make a few phone calls. Depending on your personal situation, and local office, you may get the answers you are seeking.

Good luck
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prairieboy



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Location: The batcave.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2003 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's a link to the FAQ archive. http://www.eslcafe.com//forums/korea/viewtopic.php?t=7464


Scroll down to Contracts...Signing on the dotted line and you'll find a heading for Health insurance with some other related threads.

You can get the NHIC number from their homepage.

Cheers
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jpal75



Joined: 16 Apr 2003
Location: NeverNeverLand

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You may never use it but it's good to have something that is there to help you. Who knows what can happen to you when you turn that corner or cross that street or eat that seafood...
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Mr. Pink



Joined: 21 Oct 2003
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How much could you possibly be paying?

I was paying 50k a month, that covers me and my family.


If I have just ONE accident or incident that requires more than a doc visit that yearly fee is already paid for.

When I first came to Korea I was only paying 20k a month. How much you pay is TOTALLY based on how much you EARN.

You might be young and healthy, but if a taxi hits you, what will you do then?
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maxxx_power



Joined: 17 Mar 2003
Location: BWAHAHAHAHA! I'M FREE!!!!!!!

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Be careful though, make sure your boss actually pays into the program rather than pockets the money.

Come to find out I owe over 1,000,000 won in order to enroll in the program (you have to pay for every month in Korea) because my former snake of a boss took the money without enrolling.

So, please be gentle with me, I'm uninsured at this point.
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ulsanchris



Joined: 19 Jun 2003
Location: take a wild guess

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i used to think i was young and healthy until i got a herniated disk. It took multiple trips to the doctor lots of pills, and phyisiotherapy. Also the doc was considering to perform surgery on me. I didn't have health insurance because my pervious boss was a bastard and never got it for me. now with my new boss i'n going to get it. I've also had to vist doctors here for tonsilitis and someother problem i can't remember at the moment. All without insurance. Its a pain not to have it. YOu might never need it, but if you do that it pays to have it.
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prairieboy



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Location: The batcave.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 10:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some good advice.

I myself picked up a nasty eye infection while rafting in Gangwondo. It's viral so I'll basically never be rid of it now.

During the summer is when it will likely flair up. This past summer I had to make 4 visits to the local eye hospital. 3000 won for each visit plus 6500 for eye drops and medication to controll the swelling and itchiness.

I can only imagine what this would have cost without insurance.

Cheers
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azzwell



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: where the girls from Super Junior cannot find me

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you were an American, without wonderful national health care, like I am, you would get down on your knees and thank God every day for the privilege of paying so little to be almost totally covered if anything, and I mean anything, happens to you. National Health is a god-send, try living without it.
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rudyflyer



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Location: pacing the cage

PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2003 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ara_lester wrote:
If you were an American, without wonderful national health care, like I am, you would get down on your knees and thank God every day for the privilege of paying so little to be almost totally covered if anything, and I mean anything, happens to you. National Health is a god-send, try living without it.


damm straight ara. I had shingles in Nov and the total cost for 3 dr visits and anti-viral medication ran me like 70,000 won. had a tooth yanked at a very modern dental hospital for 6,000. had 4 root canals done for like 300k total all for 35,000 won/month

its one of the reasons we stay there
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Eazy_E



Joined: 30 Oct 2003
Location: British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2004 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Pink wrote:
How much could you possibly be paying?

I was paying 50k a month, that covers me and my family.


If I have just ONE accident or incident that requires more than a doc visit that yearly fee is already paid for.

When I first came to Korea I was only paying 20k a month. How much you pay is TOTALLY based on how much you EARN.

You might be young and healthy, but if a taxi hits you, what will you do then?


I pay 3.75%, which takes about a 70,000 won chunk out of my paycheque every month. That's why I'm considering if it's really necessary.

Also, I would never consider leaving myself totally unprotected in an emergency. As I mentioned I have emergency medical insurance for travellers that amounts to a little over $1 per day, cheaper than the Korean plan.
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prairieboy



Joined: 14 Sep 2003
Location: The batcave.

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2004 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I mistaken or isn't your employer required, by law, to pay 50% of your premium?

I'll check that out.

Well, they are required to pay a portion of your premiums as can be found on this page at the NHIS website:

http://www.nhic.or.kr/wbe/wbeb/2002/12/30/207,364,12,0,0.html

At my last hogwon I was making 1.9 mill a month and only paying about 39,000 a month for NHIS insurance.

cheers
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Sun Jan 04, 2004 4:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went for full travel insurance back home which covers hospital visits, and if necessary a repatriation to new zealand. It worked out about the same as what I would be paying for the korean national system, but has a few bells and whistles attached to it.
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Eazy_E



Joined: 30 Oct 2003
Location: British Columbia, Canada

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate your help on this prairieboy. I want to get out from under the Korean health plan because I seem to be paying 30,000 won more than anyone else who has it. The website for the Korean health organization doesn't indicate whether I can cancel it. My boss will call them on Monday and I'll post the answer here.
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Mr. Pink



Joined: 21 Oct 2003
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2004 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eazy_E wrote:
I appreciate your help on this prairieboy. I want to get out from under the Korean health plan because I seem to be paying 30,000 won more than anyone else who has it. The website for the Korean health organization doesn't indicate whether I can cancel it. My boss will call them on Monday and I'll post the answer here.


Your boss probably isn't paying his 50% share.

Reason I say this is the insurance also seems to cap at a certain point per your salary. I was paying 50k for 3 people and that was on a salary of about 3mil a month. My supervisor makes a little less than that and he was paying the same for 4 ppl on his card.
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