The National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) has announced that, as of 1 January, 2015, the premium has increased by 1.35% from 5.99% up to 6.07%. This is due to the expansion of benefits coverage and the increased unit price for medical services.
I am very proud of this system, having been a part of it since its inception in 1988, when it was launched amidst much opposition. Now, this program is one of the most efficient and beneficial of the four major social programs in Korea.
This month, I’d like to explain the Employment Insurance (EI) program which is not that well known to expats in Korea. I have found that many employers deduct the EI premium from an expat’s monthly salary based on Korean nationality. If you hold a C-, D-, E-, or H-series visa, or an F-4 visa (Gyopos), you may request that your employer not deduct the EI premium from your salary.
For D-7, D-8, and D-9 visa holders, see whether your country also offers Korean EI coverage, since this benefit will be given based on the mutual agreement between your country and Korea. If your employer has deducted the EI premium from your salary, please contact the EI authority for a refund. For all Korean citizens and F-2, F-5, and F-6 visa holders, the EI is a compulsory program.
To receive coverage, you can visit www.ei.go.kr. The only language provided on the website is Korean, so some of you may need a friend to help translate. You can check your expected unemployment allowance at https://www.ei.go.kr/ei/eih/eg/pb/pbPersonBnef/retrievePb200Info.do.
The website (www.ei.go.kr) also provides information on EI. For example, you can claim EI when you leave your employer of your own volition. Also, when you have worked for an employer for more than 180 work days, you can claim EI if your employer has not provided your salary for more than two months, or if you missed work because of childbirth or illness for more than seven days.
For the EI allowance, you need to try to get a job continuously while receiving the insurance payout from the government. This insurance is only available for one year from the date you left your employer. I recommend claiming EI as soon as possible from the date you lost your job.
This insurance premium is 1.3% of your monthly taxable salary, so you may pay 0.65% and your employer also pays 0.65%, plus 0.25%~0.85% based on the number of employees for other programs, like vocational education contributions.
If you have questions on this topic, please call 1350 for service in English.