Korean National Health Insurance (NHI) was established during only 12 yr from its inception (1977-1989), providing universal medical coverage to the entire nation and making a huge contribution to medical security. However, the program now faces many challenges in terms of sustainability. The low birth rates, aging population, low economic growth, and escalating demands for welfare, as well as unification issues, all add pressure to the sustainability of NHI. The old paradigm of low contribution - low benefits coverage - low NHI's fee schedule needs to be replaced by a new paradigm of proper contribution -adequate benefit coverage - fair NHI's fee schedule. This new paradigm will require reform of NHI's operating system, funding, and spending.
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