History and Future of National Health Insurance
Korea’s national health insurance system started with businesses with more than 500 employees in 1977 and it was expanded to the whole nation in July 1989. Combining the National Health Insurance Management Corporation and 139 unions of employer-sponsored health insurance, the National Health Insurance Service(NHIS) was launched in July 2000.
Based on the stable financial management which was made possible by the integration of company-sponsored and local-sponsored health insurance, NHIS opened the possibility of expanding the subjects and scopes of health insurance coverage. NHIS, also, took the one step further in improving the quality of national health care by transforming a disease treatment-centered approach to a prevention-oriented approach to national health care service by expanding physical check-up coverage.
NHIS introduced the long-term care service for the elderly in July 2008 to reduce the financial burden of the elderly who have difficulties taking care of themselves and their family. The number of beneficiaries was estimated at only 210,000 in the early stage of the long-term care service and 750,000 people were benefited from the care service in 2019. The long-term care service contributes to improving care for the elderly and reducing a financial burden by making efforts to improve the service system reflecting the beneficiary needs and to offer customized care service.
As part of a policy designed to enhance the national health care benefits, NHIS abolished the special medical service which has been a big burden to patients, and expanded insurance coverage to include stays in upper-grade hospital rooms. It also gradually expanded coverage for essential examinations such as MRIs and ultrasounds.
To overhaul the imposition system of health insurance in a balanced and fair manner, in 2018 NHIS successfully finished its first phase of overhauling the income-based imposition system and it prepares for the second phase.
NHIS makes its best efforts to help people enjoy a better quality of life with the national health care service. With the vision of better life-long healthcare service; healthier and happier lives; and a global leader in universal health care, NHIS will spare no efforts for the healthier and happier life of our people. life-long health, national happiness,