Thursday, April 17, 2008

Healthcare in Korea

I'd always wanted to try accupuncture, and finally got the chance in Gwangju. Chinese Medicine is much more available there than in the states. This accupuncture treatment cost me less than $7 a treatment.

Nationalized health care has always been a subject that scared me. But, living in South Korea has made me get over my feel of government funded services and visit my local subsidized Doctor.

Thankfully, I'm a pretty healthy person (maybe it's because I'm a vegetarian), but I've had to make a couple trips to the Doctor lately. I've been blessed to find Doctors that are close to fluent in English and have been pretty happy with their services.

I'm not going to go into the politics of health care, but there are a few things that are different from my (beloved) healthcare in the States:

The Price
After getting a cold before our Winter Camp last year I decided to visit the local clinic and get some medicine to stop my cold symptoms. Guess how much the visit plus medicine cost? It was THREE DOLLARS!!! (three thousand Won). Yes, that's right. Even though I'm a foreigner, I'm covered under national health care, which subsidizes small clinics (which are everywhere).

The Wait
When going to clinic I waited a grand total of ten minutes (without an appointment). However, when I made an appointment with another Doctor, I did have to wait for about 20 minutes after my scheduled appointment.

The Service
Just like in the States, the service you received depends on your Doctor. I was SUPER satisfied with one of my Doctors who spent lots of time explaining my illness and answered my many hypochondriac leaning questions. However, the Doctor at the clinic really didn't want to explain why he wanted to give me that painful shot.

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