Kim Heung-sook ,
The Korea Times |
The government has designated the period from 2010 through 2012 as "Visit Korea" years and has been trying to promote medical tourism as a way of increasing its number of foreign visitors, allowing hospitals to market and pay commissions to agencies to bring in more patients.
Still, there is a hindrance to such efforts, The Korea Times reported twice last week, because foreign patients are "victimized," paying "exceedingly inflated" prices for their treatment at Korean hospitals. In a separate report, the KT also said Korea's major hospitals charged medical tourists 2.5 to 3 times more than locals.
Both reports ended with worrisome comments that if these practices are left unchecked, the government's plan to attract more than 200,000 medical tourists, or more than 10 times the current figure, in 2013 will be jeopardized.