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Increasing Delinquents For Insurance Fee, 3 Million Excluded From Health Benefits

Increasing Delinquents For Insurance Fee, 3 Million Excluded From Health Benefits

Posted July. 30, 2003 21:50,   


“I could not pay for my health insurance fee of 35,890 won in time, so now I have to pay 37,680 won, due entirely to the fact that I could not pay on time. I was delinquent on my payment by only a few months and am wondering why I have to pay this much. I haven`t been able to find a job for a year and five months. Everyday is like a living hell.” This is part of a short passage posted by a delinquent insurance fee payer on July 29 on the complaint page of the National Health Insurance Corporation`s (NHIC) website.

As the economic downturn drags on, an increasing number of regional subscribers who are in arrears are suffering from the insurance debts. The NHIC announced on July 30 that, as of late June, some 1,690,000 households are in arrears for more than three months of health insurance payments, totaling about 819.5 billion won.

Delinquent payers who did not make a payment for more than three months from January to June of this year amount to 200,000 households, a total of 95.8 billion won which has yet to be paid. This is in sharp contrast to last year`s situation where delinquent households and fees dropped by 120,000 and 40.3 billion won, respectively, compared to 2001. Also, the proportion of collected money in total amount of overdue payments recorded the highest 99.8 percent ever since the establishment of the Corporation.

According to the NHIC, health insurance subscribers who are in arrears for more than three months will not be able to benefit from the insurance any longer. As a result, some 1.52 million households currently have no insurance. Assuming that an average household has at least two people under one roof, this means that more than 3 million people are at danger of not receiving health benefits due to late-payment problems.

Some 170,000 households among those who have been in arrears for more than three months are staying within the health benefits by making an installment payment on their late fees.

An official from the NHIC said, “Mostly regional subscribers tend to decide whether to pay for the insurance fee after paying for the child`s tuition at private institutions, along and other fees, including the phone bill. The rise in the number of delinquents shows the real economic hardship that the poor are going through these days.”

The NHIC added that the amount collected through insurance fees from delinquents has significantly declined since last November, as regulations on credit cards were strengthened.

Credit card companies have bee reducing credit limits by 20 to 50 percent in some cases due to the rising number of delinquents and falling profits since last year.

An official from the NIHC added, “Some regional subscribers were able to pay for their insurance fees in the past by taking a cash advance from their credit card. This is no longer possible, however, because of stringent new regulations on the part of credit card companies.”

Jin Lee leej@donga.com