‘Institutional Reform for Fair Health Insurance Will be Realized’
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‘Institutional Reform for Fair Health Insurance Will be Realized’
New NHIS President Kang says ‘crisis could be translated into an opportunity’

22(Tue), Feb, 2022

President Kang Do-tae of the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) gives his inaugural speech as he took office as the ninth head of NHIS in a ceremony at its headquarters in Wonju, Gangwon-do, on Jan. 3. (Photos: NHIS)

President Kang Do-tae of the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) took office as the ninth head of NHIS in a ceremony at its headquarters in Wonju, Gangwon-do, on Jan. 3. 

New NHIS President Kang passed the 35th higher administrative examination. He held major positions with the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), including director general in charge of health insurance policy, director general in charge of health and medical policy, deputy minister in charge of planning and coordination, and MOHW vice minister.

In his inaugural speech, he said, “Issues related to the whole of health and medical care, have been examined one by one and are now in a process of being rectified.” 

In the speech, NHIS President Kang cited “iwhanwiri,” a Chinese saying meaning ‘translating a crisis into an opportunity.’ 

“As the environment is changing fast and outside demand to NHIS is getting greater, it may be even an opportunity for health insurance to be upgraded one step up,” he said. 

Kang promised to design and implement the future of health insurance so policies and their filed executions can be unified. 

President Kang, stressing the problems on the whole of health and medical care, caused by the pandemic, proposed major tasks. 

Those included ramping up medical coverage, overhauling a second-phase health insurance premium imposition regime, strengthening NHIS’s roles to expand public medical care and raise the quality of services, managing stable and sustainable health insurance finance, building a prevention-oriented comprehensive health management system, making a long-term care service one protecting the security of the aged and bracing for the future, and spearheading ESG management and developing its corporate culture.

Kang said NHIS will continue to implement efforts to ramp up medical coverage, saying as many non-medical coverage sectors as possible will be converted into medical coverage segments, while net medical security will be strengthened by introducing steps such as accident and sickness allowances to prevent a vicious cycle of diseases and poverty.

NHIS to Ease Health Insurance Premium Burden Caused by Rising Real Estate Prices

In his meeting with reporters at NHIS’ Seoul-Gangwon regional headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul, on Jan. 18, NHIS President Kang said NHIS would expand basic exemption to ease the burden of rising health insurance premiums caused by soaring real estate prices and actualizing official housing prices to market price levels. 

NHIS is making preparations for the second phase health insurance premium restructuring plan with the government, to be implemented in the second half of the year, Kang said. 

Office health insurance holders have their insurance premiums levied on the basis of their income while regional health insurance holders’ insurance premiums are imposed according to ownership of properties such as housing and automobiles. 

Criticism has been mounting that dependents of office health insurance holders should have imposed with proper insurance premiums for their income. 

In this context, the government implemented a first phase step to overhaul a health insurance premium imposition system to narrow inequality between office and regional health insurance subscribers in 2018. 

The government intends to come up with a second phase reorganization plan by further ramping up a first phase overhaul. 

The problem is that the number of dependents of office health insurance subscribers whose status has been deprived, has surged due to real estate price hikes. 

NHIS has now exempted a lump of 50 million won in imposing health insurance premiums, but the entity is now considering the cap of the basic exemption. 

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