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NHIS extends COVID-19 relief to foreign residents

Premiums lowered for financially vulnerable subscribers

South Korea's National Health Insurance Service (Yonhap)
South Korea's National Health Insurance Service (Yonhap)

Foreign subscribers of South Korea’s national health insurance are eligible for premium assistance in a COVID-19 bailout, the state health care service said Saturday.

The National Health Insurance Service said the lower 20 percent of the income bracket will receive about 30 to 50 percent reduction in premiums from March through May.

For the worst-affected Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province’s Gyeongsan, Cheongdo and Bonghwa, the bottom half of income earners will be given the partial premium waivers.

The lowered payments are a part of Korea’s disaster relief subsidy plan announced March 30 to cushion financial blow from the outbreak for the financially vulnerable.

Under the emergency plan, 1.16 million people are expected to get an average of about 91,559-won reduction in their premiums over the three-month span, officials said.

Those who qualify for the benefits will be notified of the amount of reduction next week without a separate application process.

From July 16, 2019, foreign residents staying over six months are required to enroll in the national health insurance plan. Previously, the subscription was optional for those staying longer than three months.

As of last year, the number of foreign subscribers to the national health insurance plan reached 1,212,475. On average, a foreign subscriber pays 1,068,186 won a year in premium and receive 82,389 won in benefits.

By Kim Arin (arin@heraldcorp.com)
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