Int’l students in Korea face health insurance hike
International students who stay in Korea for more than six months can expect to pay higher medical insurance costs from July 2019, when a new law kicks in to enforce their compulsory registration in the state healthcare insurance system.
Around 100,000 students will be affected by the new rule
The revised rule is one of the changes to the National Health Insurance Act that will apply to any foreigner who resides in the country continuously for at least six months.
“It would be a big burden for students from developing countries”
While to date most international students have used private health insurance policies that cost in the region of 100,000-110,000 won (US$85-$94) a year, the new rule will require them to join the state insurance system, which can cost around 678,000 won (US$570) per year.
According to media reports, the law was revised to prevent foreigners from abusing the state insurance system by paying a small amount in insurance fees with the aim of getting expensive treatments.
TheKorea Times reported that universities have called for an exemption for students, with an online petition on the Cheong Wa Dae receiving over 30,000 signatures.
The number of international students at universities and graduate schools in South Korea reached 142,205 last year, with students from China making up the largest number, followed by Vietnamese and Mongolian students.
According to one report, around 100,000 of these students will be affected by the new rule.
“It would be a big burden for students from developing countries,” a university official said in the online petition, adding that even though the state insurance system offers greater benefits than private policies, most young students wouldn’t need extensive health care.
The education ministry said it will ask the health ministry to exempt foreign students from the mandatory subscription to the national health insurance system.
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