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Korea introduces new health insurance rules for foreigners

Everyone staying over six months must subscribe to state health insurance from July

All foreigners who stay in South Korea for six months or longer will be required to sign up to the country’s health insurance programme from 16 July.

The new rules aim to prevent people from receiving medical treatment and leaving without paying insurance fees.

All foreigners, including Korean expatriates residing in the country, will pay over 110,000 won ($93) per month, the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) announced. 

At present, foreigners who work in Korea are required to pay for health insurance while non-working foreign residents can optionally subscribe to the scheme.

According to the report by The Korea Herald, foreign students and those marrying South Korean nationals are also required to join the state insurance scheme. 

The mandatory insurance programme is likely to affect around 400,000 foreigners, who could face penalties unless they comply with the new requirement and pay on time. 

Foreign subscribers to South Korea’s state health insurance programme reached around one million in 2018.

The number of foreigners staying in South Korea rose 8.6% to 2.37 million last year, the newspaper reported.