SEOUL, June 29 (Korea Bizwire) – Starting in October, Korea’s national health insurance will include infertility treatment and liver ultrasonography, sparing patients from the burden of high medical expenses. Health insurance is also likely to expand to cover more treatment and therapy for mental illnesses.
The new policies were announced on Tuesday by the Health Insurance Policy Deliberation Committee, the highest level deliberative organization in Korea for health insurance policies.
The committee decided to expand health insurance coverage to various costs in infertility treatment including fees for examinations, anesthesia, and medicine, starting in October. Currently, the government provides partial financial support for low-income families for IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedures only. In response to the decision, the Ministry of Health & Welfare decided to continue using its aid budget for IVF procedures to further reduce the burden of medical expenses for low-income families.
Health insurance will also cover liver ultrasonography for all patients with liver-related diseases, including carriers of hepatitis B and C, and cirrhosis patients, starting in October. Currently, insurance only covers ultrasonography for liver cancer diagnosis and its monitoring.
In addition, the committee will push ahead with a planned policy that will have health insurance cover treatment and therapy for mental illnesses, such as cognitive treatment and behavioral therapy. The committee also plans to lower the outpatient’s share for mental illness treatment to 20 percent, which at the moment ranges from 30 to 60 percent.
Other planned policies include reducing patient share for residents living in areas with minimal medical access, and dental fillings for patients aged 18 or younger.
By Kevin Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)