SEOUL, KOREA - The National Health Insurance Policy Deliberation Committee has finalized the average growth rate for the next year's health insurance premiums at 2.22 percent. Accordingly, the budget will be increased by 671.8 billion won. This is smaller than that seen this year in which 689.8 billion won (2.36%) of budget was increased.
Lee Sang-in, executive of the National Health Insurance Service in charge of insurance rates, said, "We have been under so much pressure from medical service providers to raise the rates, but we figured it would take so much resource by strengthening guarantees to four major chronic conditions. The figure 2.22 percent has come out after a long deliberation and discussion with medical service providers and NHIS affiliates."
Major interest groups such as the Korea Medical Association and the Korean Hospital Association have argued for a large increase in insurance premiums, based on the fact that last year's health insurance budget was a surplus of 8,190.2 billion won.
The 3.0-percent premium increase rate for small doctor's offices next year was in consideration of the fact that neighborhood doctors have been in dire financial conditions. In contrast, the increase rate for hospitals with more than 100 beds was reduced to 1.7 percent from this year's 1.9 percent. For pharmacies, it was increased to 3.1 percent from 2.7 percent this year. For maternity centers, the rate was set at 3.2 percent. As for dentists and Oriental medicine doctors, negotiations fell apart as each party insisted on getting 2.7 percent and 2.6 percent respectively from last year's 2.3 percent.
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