What is it like to have an illness or be sick in Korea? Many foreigners when coming to Korea have this at the back of their mind….what if I fall ill in Korea? How is the healthcare? Is the insurance good? Will I be okay?
How does health insurance in Korea work? To start off healthcare in Korea is very affordable. The main plan is a National Health Insurance plan covers the whole population of Korea and by law company’s that have more than five foreign workers must enroll them in the plan. The employer pays 50% and the employee pays 50%. For foreigners enrolled as independent contractors the price of the plan depends on their salary and assets. Regular doctor visits, most hospital stays, and basic dental work is included in the plan. Medical care in Korea is low in cost and even things that are not covered are lower than many other countries around the world.
One question that people always seem to ask is: Is the healthcare up to date in Korea? The answer is yes!!! Healthcare in Korea is the same as any 1st world country in the world and you might can say even better because Koreans value their health and beauty. Koreans will not take anything less than perfect when it comes to their health and beauty and therefore the medical advances in Korea are amazing and sometimes even ahead of the rest of the world. The next question many people ask is: what if I get a serious, debilitating illness while I am in Korea?
First off, I have a personal experience. I came down with bacterial pneumonia while working in Korea and not the kind you can sit at home with and recover with meds. My lung and chest cavity was filled with fluid and I almost had to undergo emergency surgery to get rid of the fluid to prevent my lung from collapsing. Since there were not any rooms at the moment I signed up on the waiting list and stayed in the ER in a private curtained room which was very nice while they started treatment. It was the same meds, same bed, same everything i would have received in the United States. I was in severe pain during the night and was given pain meds and after two days was put in the ICU in a private room. I spend 6 days total in the ER and two months out patient.My treatment was the same I would have received in the USA and I was closely monitored with blood tests and chest X-rays to determine if the medication was working and to make sure the meds were not destroying my kidneys. My total experience with the doctors and hospital was amazing and best of all what could have been 25,000 to $50,000 in the USA was a mere $900!!!!! $900 is nothing to sneeze at but compared to what it could have been in America I was happy.
After having this experience in Korea. My conclusion is that the health care and health insurance in Korea is amazing. Just like any country there are good and bad doctors, hospitals, and facilities to use, but if you go to a recommended hospital you will get the same care or better. None of us want to get sick, especially in a foreign country, but if you happen to do while in Korea, know that you will receive the same care as any other country leading in healthcare or maybe even better with a smaller price tag attached.