The Ministry of Health and Welfare said foreigners should stay in Korea for at least six months, instead of the previous minimum stay of three months, to be able to subscribe to health insurance here.
The extended minimum period, which will be applied to overseas Koreans, too, went into effect on Tuesday.
Foreigners will lose their insurance plan if they leave the country for more than 30 consecutive days during their six-month stay. The insurance will also expire if the foreigners leave the country for more than 30 straight days after enrollment.
Also, the insurance will only cover spouses and underage children in the same household, and the related agencies will accept documents needed for the application, such as family relationship documents, only from recognized foreign ministries or “apostille,” which is a form of authentication issued to documents for use in countries that participate in the Hague Convention of 1961.
The ministry will also raise the insurance premiums for foreigners, excluding those that have married Koreans or obtained a permanent residency visa, to above-average levels of insurance policyholders in the previous year.
“By improving the health insurance system for foreigners, it will be possible to raise the equity between Koreans and foreigners, and prevent the latter from taking advantage of the system, and enhancing the sustainability of the health insurance system,” said Jung Kyung-sil, director of the ministry’s Insurance Policy Division.
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