New Restrictions on Health Benefits for Late Payers

The Ministry of Health and Welfare this week has announced new restrictions to health care benefits. This is in response to trillions of won in losses for the government. Netizens discuss the pros and cons of the new program, as well as criticize the health care insurance system as a whole.

Article from Newsis:

Starting in July, those with increasing late health insurance payments will be unable to receive benefits.

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From July onward, those enrolled in health insurance will not be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits if the late payments pile up. This means the full cost of treatment must be taken on by the patient.

Starting this month, the Ministry of Health and Welfare will begin preliminary restriction of benefits for anyone with the ability to pay, but is more than six months late in payments. The policy will be fully implemented starting from July.

The first to be included under the new rules are those whose names were posted on the Ministry of Health and Welfare website last year. The Ministry made public a list of 495 health care enrollees regularly delinquent in large amounts. Also included are 1700 enrollees who have an annual income of 100 million won or more, or 2 billion or more in assets, and who are over six months behind on insurance payments.

Among those whose names were publicized on the list last year are those who owe more than 10 million won when 2 years of unmade payments are combined with late fees. To prevent the Ministry of Welfare from falling into financial straits, and for the sake of equity to those who faithfully make their payments, eligibility for the program [to restrict benefits] will be expanded.

A representative for the Ministry of Welfare has stated, “We are running a trial program at each hospital and clinic throughout the country to help build the program to restrict benefits to those with unpaid health insurance fees. After running the program for the latter half of the year, we will consider expanding the program.”

Based on findings from the end of 2013, there were 1.555 million households that had fallen behind on health insurance payments for at least 6 months, with an amount totaling over 2.1028 trillion won. This figure accounts for over 5% of the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s total expenditures of approximately 39.8611 trillion won.

Comments from Naver:
pach****:

Business owners and salaried workers are the only ones who have to pay every penny. On each payday, half of their income is automatically deducted. However, the government can’t bother with rich people who can even own 10 houses but don’t pay. If they don’t pay, seize their property.

smve****:

Are you saying that all this time you could be late on payments and still get benefits? So from now on, is it okay for me to pay late too and not get any benefits? You gotta hit them with a fine. Why are they even talking as if this is some great measure…

fren****:

They should’ve done something beforehand… These people didn’t want to pay so they can shove it. Little disease or big disease, catch them all.

kimb****:

I think taking action on this is natural.

kit0****:

The fees for the locally insured are so much higher compared to people who are enrolled through work and so they don’t pay… just pay it from your salary. It’s so unfair, get rid of that system.

pyrg****:

Lower the benefits for [Korean] Americans, too. Just for being ethnic Korean, American citizens come to Korea and pay three months’ worth of insurance fees, but then get tens of millions of won worth of surgery done and leave… Does that make any sense to you?

syrd****:

Don’t go after the poor ones, go after the people who have the funds but still don’t pay insurance fees and stop their benefits. Why is the law so weak for the powerful and strong for the powerless. So irritating.

ever****:

The health insurance fees for locally insured people are ridiculously high. For people with 300 million in assets, but who only make 1.5 million a month pay 220,000 won a month for insurance. Does that make any sense? Their annual income tax is 300 thousand won but their yearly health insurance fee is 2.6 million won.

sncc****:

There are people who want to pay but are unable to. There are still people who don’t even have 10,000 won to spare. Even my parents when I was young couldn’t pay so I paid instead. I was going crazy paying all the late fees. Please don’t just try to get money from the rich, and try to help the poor as well.

im39****:

Not being able to pay is completely different from not paying on purpose. Even if you don’t have money, if [unpaid insurance fees] are stacking up, it’s clear that you are not going to pay a thing.

jtw1****:

So what if the annual salary is 100 million won? Even if it’s just 30 million you could easily pay the insurance fees. Don’t just cut off their insurance benefits, cut their electricity, gas, and water too. It’s hard to pay for those who are on welfare, but if you have money, why aren’t you paying?

"So what if I don't work, I'll just enjoy the wefare benefits. "  Along the side it reads, "Welfare disease"

“So what if I don’t work, I’ll just enjoy the welfare benefits. “
Along the side it reads, “Welfare disease”

esse****:

I don’t know but it’d be great if they could get rid of the Pension Act for lawmakers and the Ministry of Gender. They’re sucking up our tax money like leeches.

mimi****:

I’ve realized that it’s definitely not a good idea to be self-employed or run a small to medium sized company. Once health insurance, pension, and whatever insurance is decided for you, you have to pay even if you go bankrupt. A country where the self-employed and those who run small to medium sized companies are not welcome is a country destroying itself by losing jobs and lowering consumption. This country depends only on Samsung.

entr****:

You didn’t do it before… up till now what exactly have you been doing? Is it foolish to be honest and upright?

ogie****:

Is it normal for an elderly 76 year old who has no income and only a 80 million won home to be paying 80 thousand won? How exactly should the elderly, with no income, be paying their insurance fees?

ckat****:

Even if the person has no income and no house, everyone has to pay 80 thousand won? As long as their residence is in an apartment complex… I’m living off friends at their house but the government still has to get the exact amount of the insurance fee right.

smwa****:

Isn’t it a natural measure?

powe****:

Do not ever quit your job… If you become a locally insured person, the fees are enormous.

ragn****:

Why are foreign workers getting health (medical) insurance benefits without charge? Foreigners are earning money just the same as Korean citizens! The second I found out that foreigners get benefits I could not help but be disappointed in the government. Last time, in my neighborhood a Korean-Chinese person had cancer, went to the hospital and got treatment for free, but died anyway since it was terminal. Where did that money come from? So I thought about it and learned that foreigners get help from the government… Koreans who don’t have any money can’t go to the hospital, and it’s absurd that foreigners can go for free. What’s unfair is unfair.

ogie****:

Health insurance is really an issue. A real ticking time bomb.

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  • I believe the SK government should pay for my plastic surgery, K-POP concert tickets and Japanese tentacle porn addiction therapy…its a human right

  • Boris

    Chucky! I am waiting for your comment on this article!

  • zachary T

    wait. Korea has a single payer national healthcare system? huh…will have to look this up. If so, it appears that type of “healthcare” does not work in any county.

    • Chucky3176

      It works very well in Korea, where expected life span gain is quickly outstripping most OECD countries every year because they are given high quality treatments with latest technology at an affordable price. But still giving people the option to pay their own private insurance, to cover all illness. The latest international poll that came out couple of weeks ago, also put South Korea at the top of the world in terms of people being satisfied with their healthcare system.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/world-health-care-satisfaction-rankings-south-korea-argentina_n_3420252.html

      • Chucky3176

        I forgot to add that although this study doesn’t not specifically compare the different systems in the world, it just tells you that people are satisfied with the care, so therefore “it is working”.

        • zachary T

          thank you for the link

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