SEOUL, Dec. 15 (Korea Bizwire) – Six in ten South Koreans support ‘Mooncare’, a presidential initiative to expand health insurance coverage, but the majority of the public aren’t keen on health insurance premium increases, a new survey has found.
According to survey results released by the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC) on Thursday, nearly 60 percent of national health insurance subscribers said they are behind President Moon’s bid to extend national health insurance coverage, including in-depth medical checkups such as ultrasound and MRI scans.
However, the number of people who were willing to pay for increased health insurance premiums stood at just over 25 percent.
The survey was conducted on a sample of 2,000 individuals with national health insurance and dependents aged between 29 and 69 in August and September, soon after Moon announced plans for wider health insurance coverage excluding beauty procedures and plastic surgery.
Though the public supports the expansion of insurance coverage, few South Koreans are willing to pay their fair share of the additional costs, and researchers argue that reaching public consensus is one of the biggest challenges facing Mooncare.
When asked how much of an increase they were willing to accept, respondents quoted an average of 7,490 won per month.
Nearly 29 percent said they supported an increase between 1,000 won and 10,000 won, while 19.2 percent said they weren’t willing to spend a penny.
Almost 19 percent said 3,000 won to 5,000 won, while only 7.7 percent agreed to contribute more than 20,000 won.
Just over 1 in 4 people believed the government should fund the new healthcare reform through budget cuts in other areas, while 23.8 percent supported creating a new tax that would guarantee access to healthcare.
Another 18.6 percent approved of tax increases on alcohol and food products linked to obesity, while 16.6 percent said patients should cover additional medical expenses on their own.
While many taxpayers seemed to prefer tax increases and budget cuts in other sectors, respondents ideally expected the national health insurance to cover 75.9 percent of medical treatment on average.
The figure is higher than the Moon administration’s goal of 70 percent, which the government hopes to achieve by spending over 30 trillion won over the next five years.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)