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60% approve expanded health coverage, oppose higher premiums: survey
  • By Marian Chu
  • Published 2017.12.14 17:45
  • Updated 2017.12.14 17:45
  • comments 0

Six out of 10 people approve of the new government policy to cover almost all medical services, coined “Mooncare,” but oppose paying higher insurance premiums to finance it, a survey showed Thursday.

The opinion poll aimed at finding public opinion on the policy that would require the government to spend 30.6 trillion won ($28.1 billion) over the next five years to cover all medical treatments excluding beauty and cosmetic ones.

The National Health Insurance Service survey on 2,000 health insurance subscribers and dependents aged 20 to 69 showed 59.5 percent agreed with the expanded coverage but opposed additional payments. Only 25.1 percent said they would be willing to pay more.

Regarding how much more they would be willing to shoulder, around 30 percent said they would be willing to pay 1,000 to 10,000 won, 17 percent said 3,000 to 5,000 won, 11 percent said less than 3,000 won, while 7.7 percent said more than 20,000 won.

Around 20 percent said they had no intention to pay more, according to the survey.

The results, which show people preferring increased health protection but disliking increase in personal financial burden, indicate a need for proper discussion to draw a social consensus, the researchers said.

The most prominent reasons for opposing Mooncare stemmed from worries that insurance finances would collapse due the unlimited use of medical services by 38 percent. Around 24 percent opposed it because it was an unfeasible target and 13 percent cited a reluctance to shoulder higher premiums.

The survey also indicated most wanted higher taxes or deductibles rather than increased premiums with 25 percent preferring Mooncare financed with budget cuts in other sectors. Around 23 percent said finance should come from tax increases, and 18.6 percent favored tax hikes on unhealthy products such as cigarettes and alcohol, the survey said.

Overall satisfaction with the health insurance system was high, scoring 71.8 points out of 100. Only 3.8 percent said they were not able to receive medical services in the past year due to a lack of time or money.

Meanwhile, the officials of the Ministry of Health and Welfare Thursday met with the representatives of the Korean Medical Association which opposes President Moon’s healthcare policy, to discuss measures to strengthen health insurance protection while ensuring proper level of reimbursement for physicians.


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