The South Korean government said it would reduce the medical fees for choice-based treatment starting from August as part of efforts to reduce the financial burden on patients, officials said Thursday.
Under the choice-based treatment system, patients can opt for certain experienced doctors, with more than 10 years of experience. In return, patients seeking higher quality treatment pay 20 to 100 percent more in additional charges, which are not covered by the national health insurance.
Under the new rule, the extra cost of undergoing medical examinations by experienced doctors will be lowered from 50 percent to 30 percent, and surgery and anesthesia from 100 percent to 50 percent, the Health and Welfare Ministry said.
On average, the financial burden will be decreased by 35 percent, it added.
Earlier this year, the ministry vowed to improve the uninsured medical treatment system in order to lessen the burden on patients.
Starting next year, the ministry will also reduce the number of doctors eligible for choice-based treatment.
Public criticism has grown over the choice-based treatment policy as most patients were compelled to pay extra charges at big hospitals where most doctors belong to the choice-based treatment system.
By Lee Hyun-jeong (firstname.lastname@example.org)