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Foreigners to receive more free dental service

June 20,2017
Free services at dental clinics for foreigners who cannot register for health insurance were expanded this month due to spiking demand, the Seoul city government announced Monday.

“The Southwest Seoul Global Center is providing free service at dental clinics to foreigners not only on Sundays, as it used to, but also on Tuesday and Friday evenings from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.,” the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in its press release on Monday. “The dental care includes tooth extraction, cavity treatment, nerve treatment, scaling and dental consultation.”

The Southwest Seoul Global Center is one of three global centers in the city run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government that caters to the needs of foreigners. Located near Sindorim Station in western Seoul, the center started in November 2013 providing free dental care, internal medicine, rehabilitation and oriental medicine treatments.

“Many foreigners who find the center cannot, for various reasons, register for the national health insurance,” said Lim Hee-gyun, an administrator of the center. “They may have illegal immigration status, but also financial reasons. For example, a foreigner who has lived here for two years but has not registered for the national health insurance needs to pay some 1.5 million won ($1,325) to 1.8 million won for just one dental treatment, because they need to pay the accumulated cost of the insurance fee from when they started living here.”

The center provides medical services in eight languages, with the help of interpreters. The languages available are Chinese, English, Thai, Urdu, Filipino, Uzbek, Mongolian and Nepali.

The dental clinics are open from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The internal medicine and rehabilitation clinics are open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the first and third Sundays of the month, and the oriental medicine and acupuncture clinics are open from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the fourth Sunday of the month.

Those wishing to make an appointment should call 02-2632-9933.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]