National Health Insurance: Advice and Tips
Hello! I just had to pay my Health Insurance bill today, and I had many issues and questions about it, so I thought I'd share my experience as well as advice. Bear with me, this post will be a long one, but I hope it helps.
In South Korea, as a foreigner, if you reside or work there, you must enroll in the National Health Insurance. When you apply for your ARC or Registration Card (previously known as Alien Registration Card), you will be automatically enrolled in the National Health Insurance. I will do another post about how to get an ARC, so look out for that!
What is NHIS?
- "The national health insurance (NHI) system is one of the social insurance schemes that proved benefits for the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, etc. of possible diseases and injuries for the purpose of improving citizens' health and promoting social security" (NHIS Guide for Foreigners).
- Target Population: Legal Korean citizens, foreigners, oversees Korean national
- D-2 Student Visa (full-time degree/Exchange program) --- common one that international students have
- D-4-3 Visa (Elementary/Middle/High school students)
- D-4 Visa (General Trainee, Korean Language Program)
- F-4 Overseas Korean Visa
When and How to Pay
Jeeeeeesh, this information was hard to figure out. Essentially the bill for the insurance will come via post to your mailbox in your dorm (PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CHECK THIS AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK!). The first piece of mail I got about the NHIS was the paper card and verification I would need to show if I used a service. Then about a week later, I relieved the bill. The bill is yellow and will show a bunch of information on it, including the amount you must pay.
You will see that there are different payment options on the back of the bill. However, many of these options are very hard and confusing. I thought the easiest way was going to be to pay online. However, the websites they tell you to visit are only provided in Korean, and the translations aren't very helpful. ***I don't have a Korean bank account nor my ARC number yet***. If you are fluent in Korean and have both and Korean bank account number and an ARC number, you could probably figure it out.
So, we checked with CIEE and found that the easiest way to pay the bill is at a convenience store (only at CU, GS25, MINI STOP, 7-ELEVEN). The worker will scan a QR code on the front of your bill, and you can pay there in about 5 minutes. However, YOU NEED TO PAY IN CASH!!!!!! The bill will say that you can pay via cash or debit card, but in Korea, they call ATM cards, debit cards. To pay via card, you would need an ATM card from one of the financial institutions in Korea to prove you have a Korean bank account. I went to try to pay mine and was denied since my debit card is not Korean, so that was a little awkward. I also did not have the amount in cash at that moment, so I had to come back.
- Payment Contribution listed on the bill is due every month on the 25th by 11:59 PM (23:59). If the payment date falls on a Saturday or a holiday, it is extended until the following weekday.
- The first bill I got was 143,840 won (around $110 USD), which I was not expecting as I didn't have my ARC number yet. However, they account for the time you have already been there. So the 143,840 was for two months. Typically each month costs about 72,000 won (around $55 USD). Be sure to budget for that!!!
If you have any questions, there is a customer service number you can call that is listed on the bill and on their website. A number is conducted in the Korean language as well as Foreign Language numbers (English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Uzbek language). The CIEE staff are also good people to talk to if you have any basic questions about it! Yonsei's Office for International Affairs will also send information about it too.
Information Via: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.nhis.or.kr/english/wbheaa03500m01.do?mode=download&articleNo=10814171&attachNo=323871
Today I want to speak on the Topik Test--(the only official) Korean language proficiency exam administered by the Korean government. Taking the Topik exam is a great way to gain a formal gauge of one’s Korean language abilities since it is standardized, although the score is only valid for two years after taking the exam.
Today I will be recounting a little trip to Damyang Bamboo Forest in South Korea! For one weekend in early December, a couple friends and I took a short trip to Gwangju City--leaving Seoul for the last time before the weather got too cold!