Global Opportunities

Korea expands coverage of health care – opportunities for Swiss Medtech companies

Changes in the Korean National Health Insurance coverage will increase demand for advanced medical technology. As Switzerland is the fourth most important importing country, Swiss Medtech companies can benefit from this important policy change.

Higher demand of medical devices is expected in Korea
Higher demand of medical devices is expected in Korea

The current Korean government under President Moon Jae-in plans to spend 28 billion US$ over the coming five years to provide coverage for additional 3’800 medically necessary services and medical devices which are currently not covered by the Korean national health insurance. The plan is dubbed “Mooncare” and is currently discussed in the National Assembly. Most industry experts believe that this will increase the demand for advanced medical technology, which is mostly imported from the US, Germany, Japan, and Switzerland. Mooncare especially extends the coverage for almost 100’000 elderly patients in need of dentures as the individual burden will decrease from 50% to 30% of the total cost. About 54’000 patients in need for implants will also see a reduction of their individual cost share. Not all players in the healthcare system are happy, especially doctors fear a lower income as they will lose the high fees charged for treatments not covered by the health insurance. The important fact for Swiss medtech exporters however is, that a higher demand is expected. SK Securities, a Korean financial institution, predicts an important increase in general demand for medical equipment as Mooncare will cover all treatments except cosmetic surgery.

A medtech report by the Swiss Business Hub Korea provides quantitative market data on the 30 largest device segments. The author identified 21 existing segments where Swiss producers have a good chance to increase their market share (Red Ocean strategy).

Market for wireless and wearable devices

Novel segments, suggesting a Blue Ocean strategy, especially wireless and wearable devices will see a fast market acceptance. Korea holds one of the best network infrastructure and 5G networks will soon be available. Due to the demographic challenges faced by Korea, rehab and senior friendly devices will also see important growth rates. Other Blue Ocean markets with a high potential include IVD, medical robots, 3D printing devices, home use applications. The said SBH Korea report identifies 10 novel application segments which will see a strong growth.

A good opportunity to test the waters for newcomers is the Korea International Medical & Hospital Equipment Show (KIMES) March 14-17, 2019. If you are interested in attending as an exhibitor, or a visitor, please get in touch. Swiss Business Hub Korea can also arrange one-to-one meetings for interested parties.

Take advantage of business opportunities now

Do you want to use the possibility to explore your opportunities in the Korean health care sector without commitment? Contact our S-GE Consultant Jacqueline Tschumi. Email

Industry Report

The import rate in the medical device sector in Korea is higher than 60%. This presents vast business opportunities for Swiss exporters. Read more about it in the industry report about medtech in Korea.