South Korea to reform laws to prevent health insurance exploitation by foreigners

A growing number of Chinese foreign residents are said to be abusing loopholes in the system

South Korea to reform laws to prevent health insurance exploitation by foreigners

Life & Health

By Kenneth Araullo

South Korea is discussing possible amendments to its laws as concerns grow over the increasing number of foreigners abusing loopholes in the country’s private healthcare insurance services.

Chinese foreign residents have been singled out, as following diagnoses of cancer or brain disorders in their home country, the alleged exploiters make themselves dependents of Chinese citizens with F-2 or F-5 visas living in South Korea. This, in turn, makes them eligible for health insurance programs offered by private insurers.

According to a report from Pulse News Korea, the rising number of these occurrences has subsequently raised concerns over possible vulnerabilities in the private insurance programs in the country. A report from a Korean publication found that the highest 30 payouts for foreigners in South Korea were between $9,842 and $40,910. Seven of the top 10 payouts involved Chinese beneficiaries or those of Chinese nationality.

Some of these beneficiaries were also accused of having violations, being believed to have exploited the inherent vulnerability in insurance coverages that Korean insurers find it hard to identify the local medical history of records. These accused Chinese individuals also allegedly did not report their pre-existing medical conditions and history to secure insurance coverage in the country, a stark contrast to local customers with these conditions who often struggle to get insured themselves.

As a response to these developments, the South Korea Ministry of Justice proposed raising the limit in investment requirements for the Public Utility Investment Scheme. The investment cap needed for residency will be raised in the hopes of making it harder to exploit the healthcare insurance system in the country.

Elsewhere in South Korea, AM Best has maintained its stable rating for the country’s non-life insurance sector, attributed to the improved performance of long-term business and greater stability and auto profitability.

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