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[Graphic News] Korea sees nonpaying health care beneficiaries rise

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Published : 2015-02-01 21:36
Updated : 2015-02-01 21:59

The number of people receiving benefits from the national health insurance program without paying premiums has increased by 28 percent over the past decade, heralding severe problems in the nation’s health care budget in the coming years.

Some 20.5 million people were registered as non-paying beneficiaries, according to National Health Insurance Service, which went up from 16 million in 2003. During the same period, the total number of people insured increased by just 6.5 percent.

Korean law allows immediate family members of those insured via work to receive benefits if he or she has an annual income of less than 40 million or one’s total assets are below 900 million won. This loophole in the law has allowed substantial increases in “freeloaders.”

Last year’s data by the NHIS showed that the the agency will face a 6.3 trillion won deficit by 2020, which will snowball into 132 trillion in 2060.