Patients now must show ID to get health insurance


A patient shows his mobile phone card at a hospital in Dongjak-gu, southern Seoul, and enjoys medical services under the National Health Insurance System. Starting Monday, patients visiting medical facilities must show an ID card to get health insurance. [NEWS1]

A patient shows his mobile phone card at a hospital in Dongjak-gu, southern Seoul, and enjoys medical services under the National Health Insurance System. Starting Monday, patients visiting medical facilities must show an ID card to get health insurance. [NEWS1]

Starting Monday, patients visiting medical facilities must show an ID card to get health insurance.

The measure is in line with the Ministry of Health's efforts to strengthen patient identity verification to prevent people from taking advantage of health insurance.

According to the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIS), since 2021, 1,892 people have been caught in 111,177 cases of stealing other people's health insurance certificates.

For example, a foreigner used someone else's alien registration number to be hospitalized within four years, and a Korean citizen used an acquaintance's resident registration number to obtain narcotic drugs 87 times in the past three years since 2019.

Both men were caught and jailed and ordered to repay ill-gotten gains.

Some expressed frustration with the inconvenience of carrying ID cards to hospitals and clinics.

Previously, patients only needed to show their resident identity card number at the hospital to enjoy medical services under the National Health Insurance System.

“I'm worried that elderly patients will complain about why such a measure is implemented,” said a nursing assistant at a community hospital, worried about how the elderly, who make up more than half of the patient population, would react.

Below are some frequently asked questions about implementation and answers provided by NHIS.

Can ID photos be used for verification?

No, NHIS does not accept photos or copies of ID cards as proof of identity. Acceptable forms of identification include national identity cards, driver's licenses, passports, disability registration cards, alien registration certificates, national honors cards, mobile phone ID cards, and health insurance certificates. The NHIS said these certificates or documents must be issued by an administrative agency or public agency, contain a photo and contain a resident registration number or alien registration number. Additionally, if a certificate or document has an expiration date, it must be used while it is still valid.

How to verify children's identity?


Patients under the age of 19 generally do not need to verify their identity, except for referral patients or emergencies. Referring patients only need to provide the referral letter once to be exempted from verification. However, if they visit the same hospital within six months, they must verify their identity. Patients with severe mobility impairments and nursing home residents classified as long-term care patients are also exempt.

If the patient's identity is verified, do they still need to fill in personal information when registering at the hospital?


Yes, patients will still need to fill in basic information at the hospital to see a doctor, as that process is not tied to the new identity verification system.

Post explained that starting Monday, patients visiting medical facilities must show an ID card to get health insurance. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Post explained that starting Monday, patients visiting medical facilities must show an ID card to get health insurance. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Can a patient who forgets his or her ID card still see a doctor?


Yes. Patients can still receive treatment but must pay the full cost. The health insurance amount can be refunded if the patient brings his or her ID and other documents required by the hospital (such as receipts for medical expenses) within 14 days of the visit.

It is recommended to install a mobile health insurance certificate to provide proof of identity.

How do I verify a prescription assigned to someone else?

When the patient is unable to receive the prescription due to confusion, inability to move, etc., the person who collects the prescription on behalf of the patient does not need to verify.

Do patients need to verify their identity every time they visit the hospital?


While first-time patients must be verified, returning patients do not need to be verified again within six months of their visit.

What happens if the hospital doesn't check ID?

Medical institutions could be fined up to 1 million won ($738) if they fail to verify a patient's identity or their eligibility for health insurance.

Why does the Ministry of Health implement such measures?


Ensure patient safety and prevent ineligible individuals from receiving unfair benefits through illegal means such as borrowing or stealing identities.

Huang Xiuxian, Yu Zhiyuanwen [woo.jiwon@joongang.co.kr]





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