Mon, Dec 01, 2014 - Page 3 News List

MOFA inks S Korea hospitals deal to assist sick tourists

Staff writer, with CNA

Two South Korean hospitals have recently signed contracts with Taiwan’s representative office in Seoul to make medical services in that country more affordable for Taiwanese who need emergency medical care, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

With the number Taiwanese tourists traveling to South Korea rising in past years, there has been an increase in cases of Taiwanese being admitted to local hospitals due to severe injury or other emergencies, incurring huge of medical expenses, Department of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Deputy Director-General Bob Chen (陳龍錦) said.

He cited a recent case in which a Taiwanese tourist in South Korea was hospitalized after going into shock.

The tourist, who had failed to purchase overseas medical insurance before leaving Taiwan, faced a US$60,000 bill for a two-week stay in a hospital, Chen said.

Taiwan’s representative office in South Korea signed a contract with Inje University Haeundae Paik Hospital in Busan in April last year, and the hospital now offers a 40 percent discount for Republic of China (ROC) passport holders, the ministry said.

In September, the representative office signed a contract with International St. Mary’s Hospital in Incheon, which offers 30 percent discounts for ROC passport holders, the ministry said.

“This is aimed at creating greater convenience for Taiwanese travelers abroad,” Chen said, adding that the ministry will try to sign similar contracts with more hospitals if needed.

He also urged travelers to purchase overseas travel insurance, given that overseas medical costs are often very expensive.

With the increase of direct flights over the past few years, there has been an increase in visits between Taiwan and South Korea.

Last year, a total of 518,528 Taiwanese visited South Korea, and the number is expected to surpass 600,000 this year, according to the ministry.

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