Ethical Consideration of National Health Insurance Reform for Universal Health Coverage in the Republic of Korea
In the current era of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), many countries are attempting to strengthen their health system and achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The Korean National Health Insurance (NHI) system functions as a core element of health financing, contributing to achieving UHC by promoting public health and social security through insurance benefits for prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, childbirth, and health promotion. The Republic of Korea achieved 100% NHI coverage of the target population in 1989, 12 years after the introduction of the social insurance system. However, poor coverage of health services and lack of financial protection are major obstacles to achieving UHC. Therefore, the Korean government announced and implemented ‘Moon Jae-in Care’ in August 2017 to enhance the coverage rate of NHI by 70%. First, this study reviews the existing health insurance system in Korea from the perspective of health financing and UHC. Second, it analyses ‘Moon Jae-in Care’, based on the main framework of UHC. Third, it considers the ethical implications of these developments, with focus on the principles of equity, fairness, autonomy, and solidarity. Although the NHI reform is expected to propel Korean health care closer to UHC, many ethical, social, and political issues remain.
KeywordsNational Health Insurance Universal Health Coverage Republic of Korea Sustainable Development Goals Moon Jae-In Care
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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