Foreign nationals residing in South Korea for six months or longer are obligated to enroll in the country`s health insurance program beginning Tuesday. Those who fail to pay on time will face uncovered rate, according to the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS).
Under the new rules, all foreigners, including Korean expatriates residing in the country, should pay at least 110,000 won ($93) a month, the average rate for subscribers of non-employee program here in the previous year. The exact rate for each individual is determined by income and assets.
Foreign students will be granted a temporary waiver exempting them from mandatory registration until March 2021. Foreigners already benefited by medical insurance schemes enrolled overseas may waive the mandatory subscription. In the past, non-working foreign residents in Korea were allowed to optionally subscribe to the scheme, which critics say created a moral hazard where people subscribe to the scheme just before they receive costly medical treatment covered by insurance and leave the country after paying low fees.
The new insurance program is likely to affect some 400,000 foreigners, the NHIS said.
By Seo Jin-woo and Minu Kim
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