Q & A

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  • FAQ

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    • 11 How can one find a medical interpreter? How much does it cost?
      • question

        The Gangnam Medical Tour Center is operating a pool of medical interpreting coordinators. If you are in need of medical interpretation, you may contact the center landline, via email, messenger, etc. in order to reserve.


        Requirements for reservation : location(hospital’s name), date of visit, content for interpretation(examples : operation consultation for double eyelid surgery or rhinoplasty, etc.)

        It takes at least 3-5 business days to connect with an interpreter, thus if needed, please reserve in advance.

        The cost of interpretation should be given directly to the interpreter, and the center is a nonprofit institute and does nor receive any commission.


        Cost of interpretation : 60,000 KRW minimum charge which includes the first two hours; 30,000 KRW for each additional hour.


        Contact number : +82-1661-2230


        E-mail address : medicaltour.gangnam@gmail.com


        The cost may vary based on the interpreters’ professional experience.


    • 10 When VAT refund is refused by medical institution
      • question
        Situation: When I requested a VAT refund slip after my double eyelid surgery, they refused stating that medical institutions cannot provide them.

        ○ Firstly, you need to check if the medical institution is a medical institution that can provide VAT refunds.


        ○ If the institution is not registered as a medical institution for foreign patients and is not approved by the Minister of Health and Welfare, the institution cannot provide the refunds. - Not all medical institutions in Korea are covered by the tax refund and there are requirements for medical institutions to provide VAT refunds, as follows. - First, the institution must be registered as a medical institution for foreign patients and approved by the Minister of Health and Welfare. - Second, the institution must have a franchise agreement contract with a business operator approved by National Tax Service, and have the required equipment such as terminal equipment, purchased and prepared in the facility.


        ○ On the other hand, if the medical institution is registered as a medical institution for foreign patients but is not yet prepared with the required equipment such as terminal equipment, the medical institution can be advised to have the system prepared as soon as possible and the patient can re-visit the medical institution before you leave the country and claim for the refund slip.


        ○ If you experience any conflicts over VAT refunds with a medical institution, please inquire Medical Korea Support Center by 1577-7129.

    • 9 Conflict between patient and institution
      • question
        I’m a patient from China. I had a plastic operation in a plastic surgery in Myeongdong and was overcharged with the consultation fee without any pre-notifications. I would like to get a refund for some of the overcharged consultation fee and what should I do for such case.

        ○ Apart from the result of the treatment/operation, if you are overcharged by the institution, you need to demand for the exact breakdown and request refund.


        ○ But in case the institution refuses to pay, you can be advised by By Fair Trade Commission Customer Service by dialing 1372 or visiting www.ccn.go.kr.

    • 8 Foreigner patients’ consultation fee issue
      • question
        I'm a foreigner in Korea on a long term business.  While visiting medical institutes here, I've realized I've been charged more for the same examinations or treatment than Korean patients.  On a recent visit I made a complaint about this treatment.  They explained to me that most Korean patients have Korean National Health Insurance while I do not.  My complaint is that Korean hospitals charge foreigner patients more fees even for medical procedures that are not covered by Korean National Health Insurance.  Even worse, one of my friends has witnessed that some hospitals have applied higher charges for uninsured procedures that what is clearly stated on their websites.  It seems they are being discriminative and taking advantage of foreigners.

        ○ First, the explanation from the hospital is correct.  You were charged more because you are not covered by the Korean National Health Insurance.


        ○The Republic of Korea administers the Korean National Health Insurance system and provides a method for non-Korean citizens to access health care here.

        - In the event you are employed by a Korean institution that provides Korean health insurance to their employees or you have stayed in Korea over three months, you are eligible to apply for Korean National Health.

        - Foreigners enrolled in the Korean National Health Insurance system will always be charged as the same rate as Korean citizens.


        ○Foreigners enrolled in the Korean National Health Insurance system will always be charged as the same rate as Korean citizens.


        ○Next, we would like to introduce you to ‘non-deductible’ treatments. By the medical laws, each medical institution is obliged to present the list of ‘non-deductible’ treatments on brochures or websites and it is prohibited for them to overcharge for the treatments.


        ○Such obligation duty for notification and regulations for overcharges also are applied only to the members covered by the national health insurance and hence, they are not obliged to notify foreigners that are not a joint member of the national health insurance.


        ○ Therefore, the cost for treatments for non-registered foreigners can be set by each medical institutions and it is not subject to be pre-notified by any lists, booklets, or bills

    • 7 VAT Refund Guide
      • question
        I am planning to leave Korea in 2 weeks after getting a Botox treatment from a dermatology clinic in Gangnam. How can I get VAT refund?

        Before you get the Botox treatment, check whether the VAT refund is available at the medical institution. Bring your passport to the medical center on the day of the procedure.  When you pay, request that they issue a ‘Medical Service Confirmation (Refund Slip). The staff will explain the refund process.


        On your day of departure from Korea, visit the refund counter at the airport and present the refund slip along with your passport. 


        If the total amount of payment including VAT is less than 2 million won, you may also apply for the refund at the city center refund center. However, be sure to check with the medical staff first as there may be differences for refund availability between medical institutions.


        Patients are only eligible to receive the VAT refund within 3 months of a medical procedure.  Patients that remain in Korea for three months following the medical procedure are not eligible for the VAT refund.


        If you have more questions regarding the VAT refund method, please contact the Medical Korea’s support center (1577-7129).

    • 6 VAT Refundable Treatment Information
      • question
        I was born with a congenital malformation of the nose. I intend to have plastic surgery in Korea. Would I be able to get a VAT refund in such case?

        Unfortunately, VAT is not currently imposed on a reconstructive surgery for congenital anomalies, which means that it is not a tax-exempt medical treatment, and therefore, there will not be any VAT to be refunded.


        If VAT was not levied, there is nothing to refund in regard to the VAT refund.

        If you want to check whether you can get a refund, please contact the medical center or Medical Korea’s support center (1577-7129).

    • 5 VAT Refundable Medical Institution Information
      • question
        I am a Chinese national who is visiting Korea for cosmetic surgery. I heard that a 10% of VAT included in the medical fee can be refunded from the 1st of April in 2016. Is this applicable for all medical institutions in Korea?

        In Korea, 10% VAT is imposed on cosmetic surgery, but starting from the 1st of April in 2016, a 10% VAT refund system is being implemented for foreign tourists. However, not all medical institutions in Korea are eligible for a refund, and medical institutions that are able to refund VAT must satisfy all of the following requirements.


        The institution must be registered at the Ministry of Health and Welfare as a medical institution that can treat foreign patients.


        The institution must sign a contract with a business which operates a refund counter designated by the National Tax Service to provide necessary equipment such as terminals in the medical institution.


        The patient should confirm with the medical institution in order to determine if they participate in the VAT refund program. 

        It’s also possible to search for the medical institution on the Medial Korea website to determine VAT refund participation.

        You can check if one’s a VAT refundable medical institution before visiting by looking up on the Medical Korea’s website (www.medicalkorea.or.kr) or contacting the Medical Korea’s support center (1577-7129).

    • 4 Regarding medical fees for skin care/cosmetic surgery services
      • question
        I am planning to use a skin care /cosmetic surgery service in Korea during vacation, but the specific fees tend to vary between medical institutions and. In particular, there are different in fees between what my Korean friend told me and what I was offered. Am I being charged more because I'm a foreigner? If so, isn't it unfair to discriminate against foreign nationals compared to residents in Korea?
        • 1. You are not a Korean national or a registered foreigner who is eligible for national health insurance of Korea. This means that you are not covered by the benefits of national health insurance, hence the application of additional medical fees.
        • 2. Medical fees charged to patients not covered by Korean National Health Insurance are not regulated.  The medical institution may charge as they desire.
        • - Skin care & cosmetic surgery services are not covered by Korean National Health Insurance, therefore they are subject to VAT and pricing is not regulated.
        • - There are several variables that affect the price of non-regulated medical procedures such as land value of the medical center location, facility/staff/material quality, procedure complexity, etc.
        • 3. Medical institutions have the right to determine medical procedure pricing for patients not covered by Korean National Health Insurance.
        • 4. Please familiarize yourself with the skin care/cosmetic surgery fees posted on the Medical Korea website. The information posted there pertains to a range of medical expenses based on eight areas of the body and 45 fields, descriptions about surgical procedures, required period and recovery period according to review by the Korean Society of Plastic Surgeons. * Check the medical expense guide on skin care / cosmetic surgery services for foreign patients.
    • 3 Alien registration & national health insurance status
      • question
        I am a foreign national who came to Korea for the purpose of receiving medical treatment. I heard that there is an alien registration system. I'd like to know who needs to register and if it also applies to the foreigners who came to Korea with a medical visa. If I'm required to register, where can I do this? I would also like to know if I can receive health insurance benefits after alien registration.
        • 1. Alien registration is a system to administer the overall matters regarding foreign nationals who are staying in the Republic of Korea for longer than 90 days per the immigration control act.
        • 2. Specifically, those who intend to stay in Korea for more than 90 days from the date of their entry or intend to do so by changing their status of sojourn are required to submit the alien registration no later than 90 days (or the date when their status change was approved in case of changing their status of sojourn) from the date of their entry to the Korea Immigration Service or immigration office of their residence.
        • - Note, however, that alien registration shall not apply to those who perform duties in terms of diplomatic/official agreement, their family members, and others who are deemed to be exempted from alien registration by the Ministry of Justice.
        • - This strictly applies to foreign nationals who entered Korea with a Medical Visa (C-3-3 or G-1-10) for the purpose of receiving medical treatment. If you plan to stay in Korea for 90 days or longer, you must complete alien registration.
        • 3. Those who complete alien registration are considered eligible to be insured by Korean health insurance. This does not apply to foreign patients who entered Korea for the purpose of receiving medical treatment (C-3-3 or G-1-10).
    • 2 Medical tourist visa issued by proxy (visa issuance by an organization with excellent record of medical tourism services to foreign patients on behalf of a foreign patient)
      • question
        I am working for an institute that provides medical tourism services to foreign patients. I wonder if we can apply for a visa on behalf of a foreign patient.
        • In the case of an electronic medical tourist visa, which is issued by the Ministry of Justice, the “organizations with excellent records of medical tourism services to foreign patients” can apply for the visa on behalf of their foreign patients. If your company is categorized as an organization with an excellent record of medical tourism services to foreign patients, you can apply for an electronic visa on behalf of your foreign patient.


          • - The Ministry of Justice examines the rate of illegal stays, invitation performances and other details (medical tourism induction records, business plans and excellent attracting cases) and selects “organizations with excellent records of medical tourism services to foreign patients”.
          • - Then, the Ministry of Justice authorizes the selected organizations to apply for an electronic visa.
          • - Submission of evidential documents relating to the patient’s financial abilities can be omitted.
          • - In addition, benefits including conferment of a certificate of designation as a skilled physician by the Justice Minister (in five languages) are provided. To find out if your company qualifies as an organization with an excellent record of medical tourism services to foreign patients, check out Announcement -> Notice menu in the Hi KOREA website (www.hikorea.go.kr).
  • Q&A