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  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« on: July 23, 2020, 03:06:39 pm »
Did anyone else get a paper saying that they need to do a health check-up before the end of the year? My co-teacher says it's required for me, because it's an even year (and this is somehow related to my birth year). I'm also required to do a cancer check that I've never done before.

Previously, I've only done one health check per year, right before renewing. If I do this check-up in December, can I use it for a March renewal, or will I be required to do another one? (I'm F-2-7, if it matters, but my school has always asked me to do one before a renewal.)

My other concern is the cancer screening - I'd rather have a doctor who speaks decent English do that, and the place I usually go doesn't have one, as far as I know (my Korean is decent enough to do the eye test, but I always have my husband write me a note explaining that I tend to faint when I get blood drawn, so I don't have to explain that myself). Does anyone have the list of approved health check locations for SMOE? I've just always gone to the same place, but I'd like to find an English-speaking one this time, if possible.

(She also said that the test was free, which it never was before - I was paying about 100,000 each for my previous ones, at Korea University Hospital.)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 03:23:41 pm by shostager »


  • Lazio
  • Super Waygook

    • 404

    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2020, 07:49:52 pm »
Did anyone else get a paper saying that they need to do a health check-up before the end of the year? My co-teacher says it's required for me, because it's an even year (and this is somehow related to my birth year). I'm also required to do a cancer check that I've never done before.

Previously, I've only done one health check per year, right before renewing. If I do this check-up in December, can I use it for a March renewal, or will I be required to do another one? (I'm F-2-7, if it matters, but my school has always asked me to do one before a renewal.)

My other concern is the cancer screening - I'd rather have a doctor who speaks decent English do that, and the place I usually go doesn't have one, as far as I know (my Korean is decent enough to do the eye test, but I always have my husband write me a note explaining that I tend to faint when I get blood drawn, so I don't have to explain that myself). Does anyone have the list of approved health check locations for SMOE? I've just always gone to the same place, but I'd like to find an English-speaking one this time, if possible.

(She also said that the test was free, which it never was before - I was paying about 100,000 each for my previous ones, at Korea University Hospital.)

This health check has nothing to do with your workplace. Once you reach a certain age, NHIS will require you to undergo a health check every two years. I don't know if this only applies for residency visa holders or all NHIS subscribers. I mean apart from Korean citizens of course. Because they also have to do this. The age is from around 40 years or so. Wife has to do from the age of 37 while I will need to do from age 40. Not sure what is it based on. Gender? She says it's because I'm a foreigner. I dunno. Maybe I'm less important for the society. Btw. the ages stated above are in "normal" age and not "stupid" age.


  • Mr C
  • The Legend

    • 2202

    • October 17, 2012, 03:00:40 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2020, 10:45:19 pm »
This is a NHIS requirement, assuming your visa requires it.  You work for SMOE so yes. 

There are lots of hospitals that do this, but you seem to be thinking of this as a bad thing ... it's actually great!  You get a $300 check-up for FREE!  Your results don't go to your employer, just you if you fill out the paperwork to report to just you (obv, the NHIS gets it but it doesn't change your status). 

If you work for SMOE you always have a blood test, so I'm not sure your point there, and I also don't understand how cancer testing depends on the doc's language.  This test does not include marijuana, cocaine etc which SMOE re-up test does, so you can't use it as a replacement. 

Also, if you are a foreigner, they don't do the stomach cancer test, which IMO is the unpleasant one, since you haven't been eating kimchi since age two. 

So, I just suggest get a free medical check-up--there's no downside!
Mr. C is not a bad person, in fact is quite a good person here. One of the best people on this forum if you really look at it
-Mr.DeMartino


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2020, 06:36:56 am »
@Lazio: That's what I was wondering about. I'm 28 years old, about a decade away from the "certain age" that you mentioned they require it. I've never heard about this before, so I wondered "why now?"

@Mr. C: As to why I'd rather not do this - I'm just not a super fan of hospitals (for one, they can never find my veins to take blood, so they almost always stick me multiple times - my "hidden veins" are genetic), and I don't think a pandemic is a great time to require two health check-ups for a single year (yes, Korea has low numbers, I know - but still).

My point about the language is that my regular Korean is decent, but my medical Korean is not good, and I'd rather have someone who speaks English do my cervical cancer screening (pap smear), than someone using language I can't understand. I was just wondering where I can go that might have an English-speaking doctor to do that.


Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2020, 06:50:14 am »
Like Lazio said, the NHIC checkup is not a school or visa one, just a public health thing.

I've received messages about the free NHIC checkups, but never done one.  Also, there is 위내시경 (stomach endoscopy)(Sorry Mr C, I actually found this one kind of fun  :wink: ) that I got messages about, but never did, as I'd done one the year before and didn't feel the need to do again.  There is no come back from them if you don't do them.  They're there if you want to check up.

Also, the one you do for school is fairly cheap about 40 000+ won or thereabouts, so it's fairly cheap.  It's a 공무원 채용신체 검사 and I think they're valid for three or six months, I can't quite remember.

Personally, you should do what you're comfortable with.  Even though it's free, I'd be a bit apprehensive, if it makes you feel uncomfortable.  I've been to too many doctors and had too many check ups that I thought were a bit crap.   I will add that I live in a small city, so the medical options available are not so good.  I travel to Cheonan, Daejeon or Seoul if I want something done. 


  • 303lmc
  • Veteran

    • 166

    • March 05, 2019, 05:23:12 pm
    • Gwangju
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2020, 07:45:41 am »
I did receive a message about it. I didn't know it was FREE. I was confused too because I just had a medical for the school in January. I'll go the very last minute.


  • Savant
  • The Legend

    • 2400

    • April 07, 2012, 11:35:31 pm
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2020, 07:55:32 am »
I did receive a message about it. I didn't know it was FREE. I was confused too because I just had a medical for the school in January. I'll go the very last minute.

Donít go last minute. I did that the last time on a Saturday and the medical center I went to was packed.


Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2020, 07:59:10 am »
This is a NHIS requirement, assuming your visa requires it.  You work for SMOE so yes. 

Also, if you are a foreigner, they don't do the stomach cancer test, which IMO is the unpleasant one, since you haven't been eating kimchi since age two. 


It won't ever be tied to the visa, but the employer can get fined if it is not completed. The employer will not get the results and you do not have to show them, but they will have to pay a fine if it's not done.

I have gotten the stomach cancer check and didn't pay extra for it, so I guess it depends on the hospital. It's super uncomfortable but I have always eaten salty and spicy foods so it's just as well.

@Lazio: That's what I was wondering about. I'm 28 years old, about a decade away from the "certain age" that you mentioned they require it. I've never heard about this before, so I wondered "why now?"

@Mr. C: As to why I'd rather not do this - I'm just not a super fan of hospitals (for one, they can never find my veins to take blood, so they almost always stick me multiple times - my "hidden veins" are genetic), and I don't think a pandemic is a great time to require two health check-ups for a single year (yes, Korea has low numbers, I know - but still).

My point about the language is that my regular Korean is decent, but my medical Korean is not good, and I'd rather have someone who speaks English do my cervical cancer screening (pap smear), than someone using language I can't understand. I was just wondering where I can go that might have an English-speaking doctor to do that.

It's not based on age for the check, but based on age for specific cancer checks. I had to do my first one before I was even 30.

I agree with you hospitals are very uncomfortable and I would rather not go. My blood pressure is always higher because I am so uncomfortable and nervous. I am also only 30 and would also prefer to have those tests (or any) done by someone who can speak English, but it is important to get them done regardless. Cancer can strike at any age, so it's better to check regularly not matter how uncomfortable.  The test is not as important as when you receive the results. The doctor doing the test is not immediately going to share the results.....and the NHIS checkup results will not be shared by the doctor necessarily, but just given to you as a printout. You would have to seek out the doctor for explanation. That being said, most doctors can speak enough English to explain medical things because a lot of medical information is in English anyway. Doctors may be uncomfortable doing so, but most can and should if you ask. I've had oriental clinic doctors who could even speak English well enough to communicate something medical. Just get the check done and make a follow up appointment for the results with a doctor confident enough to explain the results in English to you. There has to be at least 1 English speaking doctor available at the hospitals.

Also, I've gone for the NHIS medical check before (my 1st year here when I was 27 I think) and they asked me if I was married and I said no so they decided not to do the pap smear. OB/GYN stuff is commonly only sought out for those who are pregnant/married/about to be married. Korean women have told me they generally don't go before that time because of the taboo around it?

Be proactive and get the test done, no matter how uncomfortable it might catch something early. If you are uncomfortable with the doctor after, you can always just get a recheck done at an English speaking place in Seoul or wherever. There are plenty that cater to foreigners and if you get the mandatory one done they will leave you alone and you can go to your own preferred doctors after. You never know......better to know than not....speaking from experience on that....


Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2020, 08:08:53 am »
I mentioned to a friend that I decided not to get the endoscopy done (I really don't like it and have had it done twice now).  He has been living here for a while and said that I should have had it done.  He said that if you don't get it done and then get the cancer later you will not be covered by your medical insurance.  I don't know if this is correct but I'll probably have it done next time.  I also don't like going to the hospitals/medical centres as I just don't like medical stuff either.  Some doctors speak decent English, some it is very minimal - in which case there is usually a translator who comes around with me.


  • 303lmc
  • Veteran

    • 166

    • March 05, 2019, 05:23:12 pm
    • Gwangju
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2020, 08:13:39 am »
Donít go last minute. I did that the last time on a Saturday and the medical center I went to was packed.
I would NEVER go on a Saturday. I will not use MY time to go. but it can wait until Nov or Dec


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2020, 08:19:09 am »
Also, I've gone for the NHIS medical check before (my 1st year here when I was 27 I think) and they asked me if I was married and I said no so they decided not to do the pap smear. OB/GYN stuff is commonly only sought out for those who are pregnant/married/about to be married. Korean women have told me they generally don't go before that time because of the taboo around it?

Well, I am married, so I guess there's no getting out of that, then. I don't plan to have kids, but that probably doesn't factor in for them.


Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2020, 09:08:36 am »
Well, I am married, so I guess there's no getting out of that, then. I don't plan to have kids, but that probably doesn't factor in for them.

Having children doesn't mean anything for any potential cancer though so better safe than sorry......I am married now too so they don't even ask anymore and apparently my husband can ask them to do it too.....without asking for my permission.....


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2020, 09:16:33 am »
Having children doesn't mean anything for any potential cancer though so better safe than sorry......I am married now too so they don't even ask anymore and apparently my husband can ask them to do it too.....without asking for my permission.....

Wait, without your permission definitely seems wrong. What are they going to do? Hold you down? Sedate you?
I know that getting your tubes tied can sometimes require your husband's permission (which it shouldn't, but I digress), but your husband ordering something without your permission definitely sounds illegal.


  • Lazio
  • Super Waygook

    • 404

    • January 27, 2018, 03:56:10 pm
    • Gyeongi-do
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2020, 09:28:46 am »
I mentioned to a friend that I decided not to get the endoscopy done (I really don't like it and have had it done twice now).  He has been living here for a while and said that I should have had it done.  He said that if you don't get it done and then get the cancer later you will not be covered by your medical insurance.  I don't know if this is correct but I'll probably have it done next time.  I also don't like going to the hospitals/medical centres as I just don't like medical stuff either.  Some doctors speak decent English, some it is very minimal - in which case there is usually a translator who comes around with me.

That's what I heard too. If you don't get these health checks done, and later you will have some problems that were likely to surface during a screening, your treatment will not be covered by the national health insurance.


Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2020, 09:36:44 am »
Wait, without your permission definitely seems wrong. What are they going to do? Hold you down? Sedate you?
I know that getting your tubes tied can sometimes require your husband's permission (which it shouldn't, but I digress), but your husband ordering something without your permission definitely sounds illegal.

I dunno but I was at the Dr for something and he apparently asked the Dr to check something when I was out of the room for a minute and the Dr did....but I didn't know until after it was done.........

Also, he can make and cancel all my appointments and get my records at the hospital without my written consent......he works at said hospital as a chef.....this I don't mind because it's easier for him to make/change the appointments for me when he goes into work than it is for me to call and do so....but when it comes to any procedures/exams I 100% need to give permission and he (my husband) knows this well now......I guess it's just kinda a cultural thing in some way because neither even had a slight thought to ask me and neither meant any harm by it/where just looking out for me but still.....it was just so casual that it must be somewhat common I guess


  • Savant
  • The Legend

    • 2400

    • April 07, 2012, 11:35:31 pm
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2020, 09:41:23 am »
I would NEVER go on a Saturday. I will not use MY time to go. but it can wait until Nov or Dec

Itís not time you can take off from your employment unless they are good about it.


Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2020, 09:49:48 am »
When I speak with the Korean teachers, there is a recommendation of having the 위내시경 (stomach endoscopy) every two years.  To me that seems too often, but given the Korean diet and higher chance of stomach cancer here, whether it is alcohol or kimchi related, seems to make sense for them.  I had one done in Cheonan three years ago (first time and just as a curious thing) and again a couple of weeks ago at the same place.  100 000 won each time, and they said I had a tiny bit of helicobacter the first time, got medicine then and took it, when they checked a few weeks ago, no helicobacter.   


  • buckybee
  • Veteran

    • 98

    • August 30, 2015, 02:36:08 pm
    • Daejeon
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2020, 09:53:53 am »
As far as I know, because were foreigners we have to take two health checks sometimes. One for our visas which is required by most if not all Office Of Educations, which we have to pay for. The the second being the the mandated one that you have to take based on your birth year. This is for everyone, including Korean citizens. However, this one is free.

My Ct mentioned I might be able to double it up. Use the mandated one for my visa check as well but she's not sure.


  • shostager
  • Super Waygook

    • 325

    • November 06, 2012, 06:08:10 am
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2020, 10:01:42 am »
I dunno but I was at the Dr for something and he apparently asked the Dr to check something when I was out of the room for a minute and the Dr did....but I didn't know until after it was done.........

Also, he can make and cancel all my appointments and get my records at the hospital without my written consent......he works at said hospital as a chef.....this I don't mind because it's easier for him to make/change the appointments for me when he goes into work than it is for me to call and do so....but when it comes to any procedures/exams I 100% need to give permission and he (my husband) knows this well now......I guess it's just kinda a cultural thing in some way because neither even had a slight thought to ask me and neither meant any harm by it/where just looking out for me but still.....it was just so casual that it must be somewhat common I guess

Hmm this sounds more like they think he's just asking for what you want (I assume, possibly wrongly, that he translates for you?). If I went in for anything more than a general doctors' visit and had my husband with me, I'd probably discuss what questions I'd want him to ask on my behalf beforehand, and possibly what treatments / tests I'd be willing / not so willing to do (although he'd definitely still check with me on the treatments/tests).

Otherwise, they're treating you more as his dependent, which isn't as cool.


  • 303lmc
  • Veteran

    • 166

    • March 05, 2019, 05:23:12 pm
    • Gwangju
Re: Health Check-up Before the End of the Year?
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2020, 10:27:02 am »
Itís not time you can take off from your employment unless they are good about it.
it's an appointment so I will be using sick time for it.