Korean National Health Insurance
Foreigners coming to Korea are required to sign up to the National Health Insurance system after living here for more than 6 months. In some cases, depending on visa types, this 6 months wait can be waived.
For students coming on a D2 visa, their ARC start date also counts as NHI start date, without needing to wait. Students on a D4 visa however need to wait until the 6 months have passed.
National Insurance Support for Diabetes Supplies
The Korean National Health Insurance System (NHIS) is supporting a lot of the costs for diabetics. For continuous glucose monitors, they pay 70% of the sensors and transmitters, and for all other consumables such as needles, test strips, lancets, pump infusion sites, they pay 90% of the cost.
However; they only pay the above percentage up to a certain threshold – anything beyond the threshold will be fully funded by the patient. Also, these figures apply to people registered with Type 1 Diabetes only – The refund amounts for Type 2 Diabetes patients is a bit lower.
The NHI works on a refund system, meaning the consumables have to be bought at full price and later a refund of 90% can be applied for. Below are the steps to apply for your refund.
All the processes and translations were noted down with the very generous and kind help of members from the Korean Society for Type 1 Diabetes, KST1D.
Before you can apply for any insurance refunds, whether that is for cgms or consumables, you need to make sure you are registered as a Type 1 Diabetic with NHIS (or Type 2, which will have different insurance benefits). Your doctor will be able to do that for you and you can easily confirm this a day or two later via a phone call to the NHI call center. The English line is 0033-811-2000.
In order to apply for the refund, you will need 4 documents:
Click on each item to take you to the appropriate section.
NHI Refund Form
First of all, a form is needed from the NHIS Website, found on www.nhis.or.kr – the direct link for the form is below, but in case this doesn’t work, the steps are listed as follows:
Follow these steps on the website:
- Find 서식자료실 from the menu below or on the right.
2. In the search window at the top, enter 당뇨:
3. Go to the second page.
4. Find the file titled 요양비 지급청구서 (당뇨병 소모성 재류)
5. NHI now offers the file in 2 different file formats, so choose your preferred option to download:
Download the form and fill in your details. Below is a translation of the details that need to be completed:
The hospital business registration (요양기관 기호 in the second line ) can be found on your hospital bill and is sometimes also called 사업자등록번호. It is a 10 digit number.
The prescription date as well as the duration of the prescription can be found on the prescription itself and is usually entered in days; ie 63 days, 92 days, 35 days and so on.
Once all the details are complete, the form can be sent to NHIS together with your prescription, cash receipt and transaction statement.
This is not an actual prescription telling you exactly how many test strips or needles you are allocated. Instead, it is more of a confirmation from the doctor that you are diabetic and entitled to certain supplies. The refund policies for T1 and T2 are different, so this piece of paper will confirm what you are allowed to claim and for what time frame. It is still commonly referred to as a prescription. You can get this from your doctor’s office.
Cash receipt and transaction statements
If you buy your supplies at the pharmacy, you can get the relevant paperwork at the cashier. Ask for cash receipt (현금영수증) and transaction statement (거래명세표) at the counter.
If you buy your supplies online, you need to make sure the seller is registered with NHI, or a refund will not be possible. 3rd party sites such as Coupang, Naver, 11th Street are not directly registered but individual sellers may use these platforms to sell diabetic supplies. You need to check whether those sellers are registered. There is usually a sentence or text displayed confirming this, such as these examples:
there are several steps involved to have them printed if you buy online.
A blog post on how to find them if you order on Coupang is here. It is in Korean and needs to be done via the desktop website, not via the coupang phone app.
Below are the steps via the Coupang website:
In MyCoupang, scroll until you find your purchase, then click to see more:
Scroll down on the purchase page until you see 현금영수증 전표 and 거래명세서. The transaction receipt 거래명세서 opens in a new page and can be printed (or screenshot and then print) from there. 현금영수증 전표 opens a new page and if you bought more than 1 product at a time, you need to print off each receipt:
On Naver shopping, the documents can be found by following these steps:
In your naver browser, go to MyShopping and select the Payment History/결제내역 with the Won symbol. From there, find your order you wish to claim for and select Order/Shipping Details (주문/배송 상세).
From there, go to Receipt enquiry/영수증조회 at the top. This gives you the option to get the Transaction receipt/구매영수증 and also each Card receipt/ 카드영수증. Both documents will be needed. Examples are listed below, the seller needs to be named to ensure they are registered with NHI.
Print both of these and send them together with the other documents to your local NHI Office.