Korea spent W2.4 tril. on treating Chinese patients over five years

22-Oct-2020 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Korea spent 2.4 trillion won ($21.2 billion) on medical treatments for Chinese nationals over the last five years, said Rep. Kang Ki-yoon of the People Power Party, citing data submitted by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS).

From January 2015 to June 2020, the state-run health insurance company spent a total of 3.4 trillion won on medical services for foreign nationals, among which Chinese nationals accounted for 71 percent.

They topped the list of the top 20 countries with 2.4 trillion won, followed by Vietnamese (215.3 billion won), Americans (183.2 billion won), Taiwanese (77 billion won) and Uzbekistani (71.9 billion won).

The data also revealed that 31.6 billion won of health service costs was received by unqualified foreigners through borrowed or stolen medical care certificates. Of that, the government was able to recover 16.1 billion won, over half the total.

Kang pointed out that the laxity of current laws is allowing foreign nationals to take advantage of the country’s medical service subsidies. They enter the country as “medical tourists,” through which they can get health services at relatively lower prices than in their country of origin.

Under the current laws, it is mandatory for foreigners to stay for six months in the country in order to sign up independently for the national healthcare system. Kang urged that the period must be extended to one year.

“The authorities need to strengthen verification procedures by establishing a separate health insurance certificate for foreigners. Also, the NHIS, along with the Immigration Office and the National Tax Service, should provide medical institutions with a real-time information-sharing system enabling them to identify unqualified foreigners,” Kang said.



Category: Korea

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