As your contract will state, your school will provide health insurance in Korea, which covers 50 percent of all costs. This will be deducted from your pay each month and will be shown on your pay stub.
For more information about health care in Korea visit The National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC)’s website here.
Whilst the national health care plan is great for routine doctor’s visits, if you find yourself hospitalized or needing repatriated to your home country, costs could go up to the tens of thousands. We advise you to get a quote from World Nomads before you leave and consider getting supplemental insurance that will cover you for every possible scenario.
Health care in Korea rates from average to excellent. Small hospitals can be found virtually on every block, though unless you have nothing more serious than a cold, it is advisable to take the time to see a doctor at a larger hospital.
You will realize early on that all doctor’s offices and clinics are referred to as hospitals, so don’t be confused.
Most Korean doctors have been educated in a western country so communication is usually not a problem. Outside Seoul, of course, this can be different. A doctor at a smaller hospital may not be able to converse with you about normal everyday things, but he certainly will know all the medical terms for any information he knows from you or needs to tell you.
Doctors at larger hospitals in Korea are generally of better training, experience and English language ability. Larger hospitals are located in every major population center, with the highest number in Seoul.
I have found that university hospitals usually offer the best service, even outside of Seoul.
For most ailments in Korea, you will be referred to an oriental doctor. As one would expect, Korea is abundant with practitioners of traditional oriental medicine. This include acupuncture, herbal prescriptions, massage and body energy therapies. The costs are covered by health insurance and are quite cheap. My husband and I both took advantage of the cheap acupuncture in Korea. Total cost per visit was less than $5. Appointments are not necessary. Ask your Korean co-teachers for a referral or to point you to the best practitioner they know.
As with doctors, many dentists have been educated in western countries and can usually speak enough English to get through an appointment easily. Dentist offices are abundant throughout Korea, but, as anywhere, the quality of patient care differs greatly from office to office.
Pharmacies of all sizes can be found on almost any street corner in Korea. Korean pharmacies are fully stocked with all types of prescription drugs. Medication for anything more serious than a cold will require a prescription. Prices are incredibly cheap compared to western countries, and most medication is covered by health insurance.