The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) in South Korea has reported that 1.18m foreigners staying in the country now subscribe to its healthcare system, 20% higher than at the end of 2018. This may make it more complex in assessing medical tourism figures in South Korea.
The NHIS says that 664,000 foreigners in South Korea subscribed through local employers and 306,000 are district subscribers, including foreign students.
According to the NHIS, the figure is more than 20% higher than the 971,000 at the end of 2018. The jump in NHIS membership among foreigners follows the implementation of a new law in July 2019 that makes it mandatory for all foreigners without employer insurance staying in the country for more than six months to subscribe to health insurance.
The law aims to prevent foreign nationals from receiving free medical treatment and leaving the country without paying insurance fees.
This may make it more complex in assessing medical tourism figures in South Korea. If the overall number of foreigners being treated in Korean hospitals is used, this will include over a million who are living in the country and are not medical tourists.