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Gov’t tracks down high-income professionals’ health insurance payment failure

Gov’t tracks down high-income professionals’ health insurance payment failure

Posted October. 15, 2015 07:34,   


The assessed value of property a professional worker living in Yongsan District is 1.18 billion won (1 million U.S. dollars) and he earns 5 million won (4,363 dollars) a month. However, he failed to pay health insurance premium worth 25 million won (21,815 dollars) for 13 months since November 2013. When the National Health Insurance Service foreclosed his vehicle and house early this year, he then paid the health insurance premium.

The number of households including high-paid professional workers and wealthy people with big fortunes, who intentionally avoided paying health insurance premium, has been increasing steadily and has approached 60,000 this year.

The National Health Insurance Service said Wednesday that 59,364 households have been put under “special supervision” as they failed to pay health insurance fees due to reasons like “I currently have no cash to pay,” or “I need to pay debt first.” This translates into 146.21 billion won (130 million dollars) in total. The number of people under special supervision stood at 3,106 households in 2011, which increased to 54,993 households last year. This year, an additional 5,000 households fell into this category.

Among this year’s number of households under the agency’s special scrutiny, 383 households included family members who were professional workers including celebrities and sportsmen. They fell into arrears amounting to 1.46 billion won (1.28 million dollars). Celebrities accounted for the lion’s share at 157 households, or 40.9 percent, followed by athletes at 140 households or 36.6 percent, and medical doctors at 36 households or 9.4 percent.

The National Health Insurance Service collects the amount in arrears by foreclosing real estate or automobiles. In the first eight months of this year, the state agency has collected a total of 83.47 billion won (7.3 billion dollars). This accounts for 60.6 percent of the total amount in arrears. Around 70 percent has been collected among the total amount in arrears in 2013 and 2014.

A National Health Insurance Service official said, “In some households under special management, when we try to put property under attachment there are foreclosures already in place. Some also refuse to pay insurance premium and ultimately be embroiled in legal battle,” adding, “Starting this year, we have started to take away health insurance benefits to people who failed to pay health insurance premium for at least six months.”