April 24, 2009 11:47
One in 100 foreign patients at Korea's top five hospitals paid more than W100 million in medical fees, a study by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute suggests (US$1=W1,346). Six of 627 health tourists questioned paid over W100 million, with the average medical fee per foreign patient W11.8 million, more than four times the medical fees of Korean inpatients, which averaged around W3 million in 2006.
Yin Yo-han, director of Severance Hospital's international health care center said, "Since foreigners pay extra for coordinators, their medical fee is at least 1.5 times, or sometimes three times more than that of locals. But foreigners are still coming to Korean hospitals because they are cheaper than hospitals in developed countries such as the U.S."
But how any medical disputes are handled is one of the biggest problems in wooing foreign patients. As part of efforts to draw foreign patients, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs announced it will establish an executive office in May that will directly investigate and settle medical disputes of foreign patients.
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