The National Health Insurance Service, a public corporation managing health care here, is reaching out abroad with South Korea’s health insurance models to share its expertise and accomplishments.
For decades, the NHIS has provided low-cost access to quality health care for citizens and its health insurance system has also gained recognition as one of the most efficient in the world.
It attracts an average of 250 health policy officials from 30 countries each year, providing them with customized health insurance courses and hospital visits.
National Health Insurance Service President Seong Sang-cheol delivers a welcome speech during the Training Course on Social Health Insurance in Seoul from July 12-21. /NHIS
“Through the programs, the NHIS can lend a hand to emerging countries so that we can step up to become the next global health and medical care service expert,” said Lee Hong-gyun, chief of the NHIS’ health policy division.
In June, nine officials from India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the National Informatics Centre and the World Bank, among other organizations, participated in the NHIS’ health insurance research course.
The five-day program included courses on information and communication technology system operation, health insurance data analysis and big data analysis, as well as visits to hospitals run by the NHIS.
While India currently operates different types of health insurance systems in 29 different states under seven federations, Indian health authorities plan to renovate its National Health Portal of India from April, 2017, benchmarking South Korean models.
“South Korea has a strong and effective health insurance operating governance based on the ICT system, knowing how to serve its people with efficient medical care system,” said Rejeswara Rao Kolanupaka, the chief of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s health insurance division, during the NHIS’ health insurance research course in May.
The NHIS also constantly shares its knowledge by hosting annual training programs on health insurance for African countries.
Participants pose for a photograph after signing a memorandum of understanding on exchanges with Kenya’s National Hospital Insurance Fund in Seoul in May. Those who joined from the South Korean side include the National Health Insurance Service, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare, and Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service. /NHIS
Since 2013, the NHIS has been operating health insurance research courses for countries such as Ghana, Ethiopia and Tanzania to spread South Korea’s expertise.
“I personally felt that South Korea’s NHIS research course program provided in-depth knowledge and useful know-how compared to that of other countries,” said Francis Asenso-Boadi, a manager at Ghana’s National Health Insurance Authority. He was one of a dozen officials who participated in the NHIS research course in April.
“Ghana’s partnership with South Korea will boost and help us to achieve our goal to attract more citizens to receive national health insurance,” added Boadi.
In May, the NHIS, signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia and Kenya for shared and systematic collaboration on health insurance service and projects for future official development assistance businesses.
The NHIS also signed a memorandum with Mexico in April and is currently discussing a collaborative effort with Columbia.
Many African nations paid attention to the operation of the health insurance system, while countries in South America and Asia showed interest in South Korea’s pharmaceutical pricing, reimbursement policy and ICT system, said Lee Won-gil, deputy chief of NHIS’s health policy division.
“We truly welcome other countries’ interest in our health insurance system, as we are willing to cooperate with them to create an environment where people can enjoy health-guaranteed lives,” said Lee.
The NHIS said it also hopes to establish an international health and medical service foundation, like the World Health Organization, to actively support emerging countries in the development of health and medical care.
Since 2004, the NHIS has been hosting the Training Course on Social Health Insurance each year, with support from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Over the past 13 years, 542 participants from 56 countries joined.
By Kim Da-sol(firstname.lastname@example.org)