VIRGIL ONCE said, “The greatest wealth is health”. As a student, however, medical expenses to treat illness or injury may be burdensome. Foreign students, especially, have to pay even more for medical care because they are not covered by national health insurance. Fortunately, Pre-doctoral Student Clinic of the College of Dentistry and the Health Service Centerlocated on campus provide medical care at a cheaper price. The Student Health Mutual-aid Association within the university campus also reduces the financial burden for the students by returning a considerable percentage of the medical bill back to them.
Pre-doctoral Student Clinic
The pre-doctoral student clinic is the place to go for dental care at a lesser price. As a part of the College of Dentistry, the student clinic provides primary dental care at an unparalleled price. The reason for the cheap price is that it does not charge for labor costs, for the goal of the hospital is to educate students, not to make profit. The name of the clinic itself suggests that the dentists who work there are juniors and seniors at the College of Dentistry. However, there is no need to question the legality of their practices as the medical services they provide are protected under the law. The student dentists offer basic dental practices, ranging from general oral diagnosis to treatment of tooth decay, removal of plaque and tartar, and extraction of wisdom teeth.
Although all the dental procedures are carried out by students who have yet to receive medical licenses, every step of the dental care process is monitored by professors. According to Jung Ki-liung (Student Dr., Pre-doctoral Student Clinic), the work of the student dentist needs to be confirmed by supervising professor before moving on to the next step of a treatment. The objectivity of dental care is improved further because several staff members, students and professors each diagnose the patient’s dental problem, as opposed to having a single diagnosis from one doctor in normal dental clinics. Although the treatment takes a while as every step must be confirmed, the quality of each treatment is guaranteed.
Health Service Center
Located on the second floor of the Student Union Building, the Health Service Center is the easiest-to-reach hospital for many Yonseians. It is a primary medical facility that provides services in three fields: medical treatment, health checkups, and the issuance of health confirmation documents. Family physicians consult with patients on medical problems, obesity, smoking and sexually-transmitted diseases while dental hygienists conduct scaling. If the services of a superior level of medical facility become necessary, the medical office directly sends a medical treatment request to Yonsei Severance Hospital.
The Health Service Center offers several advantages compared to what is offered by general hospitals outside the campus. First, as Health Service Center is not subject to the law that prohibits the prescribing and the dispensing of drugs in one place, students can receive all forms of medication in one location. In other words, receiving medical consultation, treatment, medicine and vaccines are all available in the health center. Furthermore, consultations that cover a range of issues that deal with internal medicine, diseases, dental hygiene and psychological health are offered, which make it more convenient for students. Minor exterior wounds can be treated as well.
Those who paid both the Campus Health Care Services Fee (\7,600) and the medical insurance fee of Student Health Mutual-aid Association (\15,000) only pay \500 for a consultation fee, whereas those who paid neither have to pay \8,000. Moreover, those who paid the Health Care Services Fee can receive one health checkup per semester, including dental checkups, and free treatment of external wounds.
Although paying for the Campus Health Care Services Fee is definitely helpful, according to Lee Seung-yeon (Deputy Manager, Yonsei Health Center), the center does not refuse treatment of students who did not pay the expense if they are in a serious medical condition. Also, those who did not pay the Campus Health Care Services Fee can still receive consultation, but only for a higher price.
Student Health Mutual-aid Association
Since its birth in 1973, when the national health insurance did not exist, the Student Health Mutual-aid Association was established in order to reduce the burden of Yonseians’ medical bills. A substantial percentage of the medical bill that the national medical insurance does not cover is returned by the Student Health Mutual-aid Association to all students who paid the Mutual-aid Association fee of \15,000 at the beginning of the semester.
In order to apply for the deduction, the student needs to prepare three items: the receipt*, student identification card and the account number of Woori bank under the student’s own name. Then, the student needs to drop off the receipt and the account number at 206 Student Union Building at Sinchon Campus. For students on the Yonsei International Campus (YIC), the receipt is acceptable by post. The money will be deposited to the student’s bank account on the Friday a week after the day of reception.
The extent to which the Mutual-aid Association serves the students is wide-ranging. All bills from hospitals, including oriental medical clinics and pharmacies are subject to deduction. The amount returned depends on where the student receives medical care. For instance, if the treatment was conducted in a clinic, a primary facility, 70% of the bill is covered by the national medical insurance. However, if the patient applies for the deduction, only 10% of the total bill has to be paid, as 20% of the total bill is paid by the Mutual-aid Association. If the student goes to a higher institute, such as a hospital, a secondary facility, a higher percentage of the bill is returned. Though the national health insurance only pays for 60% in hospitals, the student is responsible for only 10%, as 30% is taken care of by the Mutual-aid Association.
Na Hee-ju (Staff, Student Health Mutual-aid Association) says that foreign students can benefit from the Student Mutual-aid Association at a same percentage as Korean students if they go to designated hospitals. Those hospitals include Seran Hospital, Dongshin Hospital, Shinchon Yonsei Hospital and Kim Sung-jeon Otolaryngologist Hospital in Sinchon and Nazareth International Hospital in Songdo.
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Campus Health Care Services Fee for Health Service Center and the medical insurance fee of Student Health Mutual-aid Association have become a part of the miscellaneous fee since the spring of 2013. Though these two fees have to be paid to make full use of the Health Service Center and the Student Health Mutual-aid Association, they are worthwhile. Yonseians, do take advantage of all these facilities; health is one of the most important pillars of life and it needs to be guarded before it is too late.
*The receipt must be an original document that specifies the date and the department of issuance and the amount that has not been covered by insurance.