Dear AMCHAM Members:
Many foreign residents in Korea choose to opt out of Korea’s National Health Insurance (NHI) and receive coverage from foreign insurance policies. It has come to our attention that the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) has recently begun to enforce a change to the opt-out policy that could result in significant financial penalties for AMCHAM members if not followed.
Rules for Exemption from NHI Coverage
Under the National Health Insurance Act of Korea as amended in 2016, foreign residents are no longer eligible to opt out of NHI after they have established their residency in Korea. If a foreigner working in Korea wishes to be exempted from NHI coverage, he or she must have private insurance coverage and apply for such exemption before establishing residency in Korea. Once exempted from NHI coverage, an individual must renew such exemption by applying to NHIS every year and receive approval.
To apply for or renew an exemption from NHI coverage, please visit your local NHIS Center for Foreign Residents (LINK) or call the NHIS Call Center (Korean: 1577-1000; English: 033-811-2000).
Penalty for Non-Payment of NHI Fees
If an individual fails to obtain an exemption from NHIS and does not pay the requisite insurance fees (6.86% per annum divided equally between the employer and employee), NHIS may confiscate the unpaid amount. AMCHAM understands that the Korean government has recently begun enforcing this regulation in earnest. We have recently been notified by members whose private accounts were frozen and funds deducted because they failed to confirm their exemption from NHI coverage.
We Value Your Input
AMCHAM strongly encourages all of our members to work with their company’s HR teams to ensure that they and their employees are in full compliances with Korean regulations. If you have any questions or concerns regarding health insurance coverage for foreigners in Korea, please share them with the AMCHAM Government & Corporate Affairs Team (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).