The South Korean government issues pregnancy vouchers to expecting mothers. These vouchers can be used for any additional medical expenses not covered by insurance during the period of pregnancy, recovery, and child infancy. In this article, we will go over how you can apply for this benefit.
Korea’s Pregnancy Voucher
Korea’s pregnancy voucher is issued in the form of a card called 국민행복카드, or Citizen’s Happiness Card. As of 2022, if you are a resident of South Korea who is enrolled in National Health Insurance and become pregnant, you are eligible for this benefit. Citizen’s Happiness Cards (pregnancy voucher) can be used at any medical facility in the country for things like check-ups, medicine, delivery fees, and recovery centers.
All pregnant women in Korea can apply for this benefit. Nationality, marital status, and visa status are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is being enrolled in national health insurance.
You will receive a Citizen’s Happiness card with a 1 million won balance per pregnancy. They can be used at medical institutions in Korea. It can mainly be used at Gynecologist and Obstetrician clinics. However, some pharmacies began accepting Citizen’s Happiness cards this year. In addition, it can be used at dentists’ offices for cleanings and scalings.
An additional 400,000 won will be given in the case of multi-fetal pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc)
An additional 200,000 Won will be given for high-risk pregnancies. In order to claim this benefit, you will need to submit a doctor’s note (진단서) to your local community center at around week 35 of pregnancy.
How to Apply
1. Visit a Gynecologist
After discovering that you’re pregnant, you need to go to a gynecologist (산부인과). There, you need to ask the doctor to give you a document called 임신확인서. This is an official document that confirms your pregnancy. Make sure that the document includes how many weeks pregnant you are and the due date.
Next, you should ask for 건강 보험 임신 · 출산 진료비 지원 신청 및 임신확인서. This is the application you will need to fill out in order to receive your pregnancy voucher.
2. Visit a Bank or National Heath Insurance Service Center
After you have your proof of pregnancy, a filled-out application, and your ID (외국인등록중), you have two options. You can either visit a bank, or your local National Health Insurance Service Center (국민건강보험공단).
I recommend going to the bank. Personally, I visited my neighborhood Woori Bank. All I did was say the magic words – “국민행복 카드 발급 해 주세요” and hand over my documents. The process was very quick and there were no issues at all. I highly doubt it could be quicker and smoother than what I experienced.
Banks where you can get a pregnancy voucher are the following:
Kookmin, Shinhan, Busan, Daegu, Hana, IBK, Jeju, Gwangju, Kyongnam, Post Office, NH Nonghyup, Woori, Suhyup, Shinhyup. Additionally, you can get one issued at Lotte and Hyundai department stores nationwide.
3. Visit Your Local Community Center
At the bank or national health insurance center, you will be given a Citizen’s Happiness card. However, the card will not have any money on it until you go to your local Community Center (주민센터). At the Community Center, you will need to apply for a pregnancy voucher, so that the card will activate.
You can also apply online. However, I don’t recommend it. You will need to download numerous security programs and it doesn’t always recognize foreigners’ information. Nevertheless, you can Click Here to give it a try.
In my case, I found that it was much faster and easier to go to the community center directly. Shortly after I submitted my application, I received a text message. The text confirmed that my Citizen’s Happiness Card had been charged. After that, I was able to use the card at obstetrics and gynecology offices for around 2 years.
How Much the Pregnancy Voucher Actually Covers
When I was pregnant, I was able to get only 600,000. However, the government has now increased the amount of aid a little more to motivate mothers to have babies. As many may know, most Korean women are now choosing not to have children. As a result, South Korea has the second-lowest birth rate in the world, and the country is experiencing a population decline.
There are a lot of incentives and benefits being offered to pregnant women to try and lessen the burden of having children to try and change these numbers. Even though I only gave birth a year ago in 2022, there are so many new benefits.
When I applied, The pregnancy voucher was only valid for one year and was really only focused on the mother. However, it is now valid for two years, and the assistance amount is increased. Between insurance and the voucher, the pregnancy and birth are entirely covered, and there is extra money left over.
It Covered All Medical Expenses for Pregnancy, Childbirth, & Infancy
The remaining balance on your Citizen’s Happiness Card can be used at pediatric offices (소아과) during your child’s first two years of life. It can be used for check-ups and treatment of any health problems your child may experience.
For me personally, this card was extremely helpful. Each month of my pregnancy I had to visit the doctor for blood tests and ultrasounds. Even with insurance, the copayments would have been a burden. Having financial assistance allowed me to take all of the preventative tests and exams I needed to keep my mind at ease when I may not have been able to afford them otherwise.
Additionally, after my child was born I was able to spend the remaining amount on my baby. We got all of the check-ups and exams offered to us and we were able to catch health issues early on before they became a problem.
To learn more about maternity benefits in South Korea, Click Here!