Guide to Health Insurance in South Korea

Whether you are relocating to South Korea (Republic of Korea) or simply searching for a new provider of international health insurance, it is crucial to understand what health insurance provisions are available and also the country's healthcare system and facilities.


South Korea's current population is over 48 million, with a life expectancy of 77 for males and 83 years for females. This accords with the country's developed status and the modern and effective healthcare system in place. In general, the South Korean population enjoy a very high standard of healthcare - The World Health Organization placed South Korea at 58th in the world for the standard of national care.

Healthcare facilities

South Korea has a public healthcare system (National Health Insurance (NHI)) and optional private health insurance. Public healthcare is financed in a similar way to other nations with public healthcare – paid by national insurance and the amount you pay depends on how much you earn. 

Expatriates are included in the public healthcare system, and any medical costs will be subsidised for the most part, including prescription medication, curative care, dental care and even specialist care. Premiums are applicable however, and charges are applied for medical consultations, though when you do have to pay extra it is usually very affordable. As an expatriate, you must take your Alien Registration Card to a local medical centre or hospital to register for NHI.

Certain conditions are not covered financially by public healthcare (such as cancer), but instead covered by private chronic-healthcare plans which immigrants often take out. Despite the coverage of Korea's public health system, it is always best to take out comprehensive health insurance before you go.

In South Korea, and especially in Seoul, you can expect very good medical facilities, well-equipped hospitals and plenty of pharmacies, with many English-speaking doctors in public hospitals and specialist international centres with large numbers of English-speaking doctors and staff.

Before you go

It is essential to contact your GP about eight weeks before you intend to leave to have any vaccinations and preventatives. Vaccine requirements potentially include Japanese Encephalitis and Hepatitis A. Hepatitis B is endemic and you need to be vaccinated for it. The necessary precautions should always be taken.

Next steps

Get an instant quote for one of our WorldCare plans to provide you with international health insurance cover in South Korea. Treatment is available anywhere in the world, get instant cover and manage your insurance plan online, so it is quick and convenient.

Back To Top