South Korea plans to increase state health insurance premiums by 3.49 percent next year to meet growing insurance demands, the health and welfare ministry said on Nov. 6, 2018.
It will mark the highest on-year increase in eight years since 2011, when the growth rate came to 5.9 percent.
The premium hike comes as the revised decree of the state health insurance law takes effect, starting in January.
Over the past 10 years, South Korea has jacked up state health insurance premium rates annually, except for 2009 and 2017, with the annualized increase rate averaging 3.2 percent over the period.
The ministry said it will try to keep the on-year growth rate of state health insurance premiums below 3.2 percent down the road.
The National Health Insurance Service, which operates the state health insurance plan, has decided to increase state insurance premiums by an average of 3.2 percent annually for the 2018-2022 period.
With the 3.49 percent premium hike, the state health insurance program's total income, insurance premiums plus support from state coffers, is projected to rise to 66.9 trillion won (US$59.7 billion) in 2019 from 61.9 trillion won this year.
The Moon Jae-in administration has vowed to boost overall health insurance benefits and cover an extra 3,800 treatments by the state health insurance by 2022.
By law, South Koreans are required to join the insurance scheme, and foreigners living in South Korea can also subscribe to it. The number of the insured came to 52.43 million at the end of 2017.(Yonhap)