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The standard of healthcare in Seoul is equal to that of most Western cities. Many of the city's hospitals and international clinics have English-speaking staff and high-quality medical services.
South Korea's National Health Insurance programme is a compulsory social insurance system that covers the whole population. Foreigners are required to register for the national scheme if they've lived in the country for six months.
Doctors and specialists will claim most of the costs of a consultation from the NHI, and expats will have to pay only a portion of the cost. Prescription medication and traditional medicine (including acupuncture) are also covered, and will therefore also incur small costs.
Although they can't be found attached to hospitals, pharmacies in Seoul are plentiful and easy to find throughout the city. While 24-hour pharmacies are rare, there are many pharmacies that are open from 7am to 11pm.
Unlike many Western countries that use the medical cross symbol, Korean pharmacies, called yak-guk, are usually indicated by the yak symbol prominently displayed at the front of the store.
Hospitals in Seoul
Apart from Western-style hospitals, there is also a wide range of Eastern medicine hospitals that cater to those who wish to relieve their symptoms through more holistic practices such as acupuncture. Many of the universities in Seoul have hospitals attached and there are a number of private clinics as well.
Some of the most reputable hospitals in Seoul include:
Asan Medical Center
Address: 88 Olympic-ro 43-gil, Songpa-gu
Jaseng Hospital of Korean Medicine
Address: 536, Gangnam-daero, Gangnam-gu
Gangnam St Mary’s Hospital
Address: 222 Banpo-Daero, Seocho-gu
Samsung Medical Center
Address: 81 Irwon-Ro, Gangnam-gu
Seoul National University Hospital
Address: 101, Daehak-Ro, Jongno-gu
Address: 50-1, Yonsei-Ro, Seodaemun-gu
►For more about the Korean healthcare system, read Healthcare in South Korea
►Getting Around in Seoul provides information on transport in the city
"The healthcare system works well. Most doctors, pharmacists, and dentists speak English, and are very helpful. I had another incident where I had an accident and had to be hospitalised. Because I had medical insurance through the school I was working for, everything from admission to surgery was pretty simple to get through. Hospitals generally have high standards here. Even though staff did not speak a lot of English, we were able to understand each other with the help of Google translate and my basic Korean skills." Read more about Malcolm's expat experiences in Seoul.
Are you an expat living in Seoul?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Seoul. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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