July 29, 2016 11:00
Koreans will be entitled to practically free tests for five major cancers -- stomach, colorectal, liver, breast and cervical cancers -- and high blood pressure and diabetes from 2018.
Under the new programs approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Thursday, people will be entitled to free checkups for major diseases and immediate follow-up tests at any hospital if they are suspected of having the diseases.
They only pay a fee of W4,000 or up to W96,000 in case of the five major cancers (US$1=W1,126). Currently only tests for stomach and colorectal cancers are free.
"The program aims to prevent people suspected of having a serious illness from missing the chance of early treatment," a ministry official said.
The program is a health checkup that the government provides to the health insurance subscribers free or at very low cost.
Last year, 888,807 people were diagnosed with hypertension and 510,266 with diabetes. Some 19,325 people were diagnosed with the five major cancers.
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