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Medical System

MEDICAL KOREA

Medical System

In Korea, you will find various kinds of healthcare facilities providing high-quality services equipped with the latest medical equipment, such as private hospitals and clinics, general hospitals, Oriental medicine hospitals, and public health centers. Particularly advanced medical technology exists in the areas of ophthalmology, spinal medicine, dentistry, plastic surgery, cardiology, and infertility. Besides possessing advanced technology, these institutions are also equipped with world-class facilities.

How to Make a Medical Appointment

  • For fast and convenient treatment, it is recommended to make a medical appointment in advance.
  • Appointments can be made by visiting or calling the hospital. Some hospitals allow appointments to be made by fax or by using their Web site online.
  • When visiting a hospital to make an appointment, please bring your health insurance card. After filling out appointment application form, submit it at the Patient Affairs window or counter.

Paying Medical Fees

  • Medical fees can be paid at the administration office of a hospital, and most hospitals accept credit cards. In the case of hospitals with international clinics, payment can usually be made directly at the clinic. Or, staff at the international clinic may be able to provide assistance with necessary documents for payment.
  • Generally, most hospitals can issue English-language receipts. Medical expenses vary according to whether or not the patient is insured. Depending on the hospital, overseas health insurance may sometimes be accepted.
  • Patients with overseas health insurance policies should pay their medical fee first and wait to be reimbursed after submitting a claim to their insurance company.

In general, the medical system in Korea can be divided into three levels. In order to use a general hospital, which is a third-tier medical facility, a patient needs to obtain a treatment referral letter issued by a first- or second-tier facility. If a patient goes directly to a third-tier hospital without first going through a first- or second-tier practitioner, the patient will not be covered by medical insurance. Foreigners may wish to receive treatment directly at an international clinic in a third-tier hospital, bypassing treatment at a first- or second-tier facility due to the language barrier. However, they may find the service to be somewhat more costly.

First-tier medical facilities
  • This category includes private clinics and public heath centers. Generally, first-tier medical facilities have a limited number of medical departments and treatment areas, providing comprehensive medical services for early diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.
Second-tier medical facilities
  • At this level, medical specialists and more than four medical departments can be found. Service is provided to both outpatients and inpatients. Typically, there are 30 to 500 beds, and emergency treatment is available.
Third-tier medical facilities
  • Larger hospitals, including general hospitals and university hospitals, are categorized as third-tier medical facilities. These facilities have medical specialists in a variety of medical departments and treatment areas, more than 500 beds, and specialized medical services for emergency treatment.