Visiting a Doctor in South Korea



Living in a new place entails major adjustments, including those involving health. One might get sick at a least expected time, so awareness is the best safeguard for ensuring a healthy stay in South Korea.

Expats from the US or Europe may find doctors in South Korea to be a little more tight-lipped than usual about their diagnosis and plan for treatment. This could be due to the language barrier, but the trend is slowly changing as more and more expats from English-speaking countries are moving here, usually in Seoul. If one wants to discuss things with the doctor, the patient must try to be more probing but still polite.

International health insurance will be honored in most hospitals and clinics, but expat workers are required to sign up with the National Health Insurance Coverage scheme that is co-paid by employers and employees. Usually, the employer pays the half of the premium and deducts a small portion of salaries. But this insurance does not fully cover medical costs and upfront payments may have to be made.

The quality of medical treatment offered by any clinic or hospital in South Korea is at par with international standards, but some expats may deal with language issues. However, many doctors speak English, especially those who trained in Western or European countries. The government is also finding ways to give the best medical care to expats by deploying more English-speaking nurses and other health workers.