The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) in Korea announced that foreigners, who have a Alien Registration Card and have stayed in Korea for more than six months, will be subscribed mandatorily to the National Health Insurance of Korea from July 16th, 2019. To avoid this mandatory subscription, foreigners in Korea should hold a health insurance from their home countries. Foreigners with the insurance would need to pay up to KRW 113,050 per month on average.
Way to avoid the mandatory subscription
We have contacted NHIS many times to discuss about ruling out the mandatory subscription of the national health insurance. As a result, we found out the way how a foreigner can avoid the mandatory subscription. For exemption, you should submit an application form for exclusion for health insurance for overseas nationals and foreign workers (“재외국민 및 외국인 근로자 건강보험 가입 제외 신청서” in Korean) and a proof of health insurance from home country to a branch office of NHIS in person or by fax. Even though the application form says foreign workers, those who are not working and children can use the same application form.
You can download the application form from NHIS website here. You need to type “외국인” in the search and you can find the application form in Korean (“재외국민 및 외국인 근로자 건강보험 가입 제외 신청서”). We tried to find the application form in NHIS English website, but we could not find any forms there. The application form is in Hangeul format (Korean Word version). If you cannot open the file because you do not have the Hangeul, you can download it from the link below. We converted the application form to PDF file. Please note that NHIS can revise the form in the future.
There is no section for contact number in the application form. But we recommend you to put your contact number in any empty space, so an officer from NHIS can contact you if there is any problem with the documents.
Proof of health insurance from home country
You can submit a copy of health insurance card or health insurance certificate from your home country. Some branch office can request to translate the document to Korean. It would be depending on which branch office of NHIS you submit the documents. We submitted the proof of health insurance in English for our clients to several different branch offices of NHIS. Some branch offices requested the translation and others did not request the translation.
According to NHIS, the exemption is valid only for one year. After one year, you should submit the same documents again for exemption. In addition, Korean Immigration Office announces that a foreigner with unpaid national health insurance will be restricted on visa extension or change of visa status. Therefore, it is very important to apply for the exemption or not to forget to pay for the insurance each month.