Health insurer to seek WON333 billion from cigarette manufacturers in Korea

| January 27, 2014

South Korea’s National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) has said it will file a damages suit against KT&G and other tobacco companies seeking up to WON333 billion, according to a story in The Korea Times.

The decision to go ahead with the claim was made at an NHIS board meeting on Friday, when 11 members voted to proceed and two voted against.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare opposes the suit and requested on Thursday that the NHIS not make any decision at the board meeting.

The ministry sent an official document to the NHIS saying that it understood the purpose of the suit, but warning that, based on overseas experiences, the NHIS’ chances of winning were low.

It warned too that the cost of the action could be a financial burden to the NHIS.

The board members agreed to leave the decision on the timing of the suit to NHIS president Kim Jong-dae, but an NHIS official was quoted as saying that it would be filed “as soon as possible”.

“All cigarette companies operational in Korea could be defendants,” the official said.

The amount to be claimed was based on the costs that the service had incurred in treating small-cell and squamous carcinoma, which a court has ruled are caused by smoking.

The agency has said too that it will work with lawmakers to table a bill aimed at forcing cigarette companies to pay a certain amount towards the treatment costs of patients suffering from smoking-related diseases.

Category: Breaking News

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