Korea’s Moon Care: Boon or Burden?

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South Korea’s proposed Moon Jae-In Care has been subject to both praise and protest this year.

President Moon Jae-in’s plan dubbed “Moon Care” will be implemented in stages throughout 2022 and pledges to expand healthcare coverage to cover 70 percent of the people’s costs.

Korea currently runs on a health insurance system and Korean’s benefit from universal coverage. From 2000, the system achieved consolidation of multiple payers to a single insurer under the National Health Insurance Corporation.

The aim of Moon Care is to go further and expand the coverage of state-run health insurance and reduce non-reimbursable treatments to guarantee better access to affordable healthcare, especially when it comes to the underprivileged.

 

The main sentiments around Moon Care:

  1. Resolution and elimination of non-reimbursables (the main cause for increased medical costs and out-of-pocket expenses)
  2. Setting maximum deductibles to relieve individual burdens
  3. Expanding emergency financial assistance to protect low-income households

 

Currently, 97.1% of Korea’s population is covered by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS), while 2.9% receive care through the Medical Benefits System for low-income households.

To cover the cost of Moon Care the government plans to spend 10 trillion won ($9.7 billion) and also plans to keep hiking up the insurance rate by up to 3.2 percent every year.

While many believe that a new welfare plan is much needed, there are also many doctors and members of opposing parties that are concerned that the financial burden on the taxpayer will become too hard to bear as the ageing population continues to grow and generates less tax revenue.

In May this year, 7,000 medical doctors gathered in Seoul to protest against Moon Care as they believed the plan would put Korean patients “in danger” and would result in unmanageable overcrowded emergency rooms.

As of now, it is unclear as to whether Moon Care will be a healthcare system that relieves the Korean Nation of medical expenses or an unbearable weight to taxpayers.

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