The system of social protection in the Republic of Korea long remained underdeveloped because of the priority given instead to economic growth. Most likely as a result, there are no laws requiring foreigners to be under any insurance policies. However, some insurances such as travel, injury, and medical insurance are recommended for your own benefit.
Any kind of medical insurance is highly recommended especially if you plan on residing in Korea for a longer period of time. Most doctors and hospitals do not accept health insurance from overseas which may put you in an impossible situation at the time of an accident.
If you are working while in Korea, your employer may already have a medical insurance plan set up for you. If this is not the case, discuss the possibility of obtaining one with your employer or visit your local embassy to get a listing of insurance providers and practitioners.
If you are arranging to stay in Korea for an extended period of time or moving there entirely, you may want to look ahead into other options such as life insurance.
The two basic types of life insurance are:
- Term insurance – This is more or less a short-term policy for a specified period of time (1-5 years). The client pays a fixed premium for the duration of the coverage or an increasing premium that accumulates into a specified amount to be paid upon the insured’s death (death benefit). However, with term insurance, if the insured does not die within the period of the term, he or she does not receive any payment at the end of the term. This plan is also called the “pure death benefit.”
- Permanent insurance – This policy is the long-term policy that covers the client for life. Unlike term insurance, the policy is in effect until the policy pays out. Also, the insured has the option to build up cash value on their investment and borrow against the policy without affecting the death benefit.
How and where to get insurance?
A popular choice of insurance provider for foreigners is the National Health Insurance Corporation. It is ideal especially for students and teachers (and their families) who are planning to stay for a period of one year or longer.
Once you have completed your alien registration and foreign workers registration, you can either apply to be “employee insured” or “self-employed insured” under National Health Insurance. If applying for employee insurance, your employer or supervisor is responsible for submitting your application and required documents. NHI provides such benefits as co-pay for hospital treatment and prescription drugs.
Insurance providers such as AIG Insurance, Chubb, and a number of other private companies have also proved to be good resources for travel, medical, and injury insurance. Korea Life Insurance is an international private insurance company and the leading life insurance provider in Korea.