More than a third of reimbursements paid to 42 tertiary hospitals went to the five largest hospitals in Seoul, signaling the so-called Big Five hospitals still dominate patient care in Korea.
The five are Samsung Medical Center, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, Asan Medical Center, and Severance Hospital.
According to statistics released by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS), the medical costs covered by the national health insurance grew to 36.7 trillion won ($32.4 billion) in the first half, up 8.2 percent from a year earlier. Reimbursements paid by the NHIS to hospitals stood at 892 billion won in the first half, a 9.3 percent increase year-on-year.
Reimbursements that went to the top five hospitals amounted to 1.58 trillion won in the first half, up 9.4 percent from 1.45 trillion won a year earlier.
The five largest hospitals took 35.3 percent of the reimbursements paid to 42 tertiary hospitals. The payments to the Big Five accounted for 7.3 percent of the total reimbursements.
For the past six years, reimbursements at the top five have been hovering at around 35 percent of those paid to tertiary hospitals.
General hospitals had the most significant increase in reimbursements among medical institutions in the first half. Reimbursements at general hospitals rose 12.1 percent year-on-year to 4.5 trillion won. Those at tertiary hospitals expanded 11 percent, clinics, 8.7 percent, and hospitals, 7.5 percent.
Reimbursements paid to clinics reached 5.6 trillion won, taking up 20.4 percent of the total reimbursements. Those paid to hospitals stood at 2.5 trillion won (9.3 percent), and those at nursing hospitals, 2.7 trillion won (7.5 percent).
With the population aging, 40.8 percent of medical costs covered by the national health insurance were spent for people aged 65 or more.
The medical cost for those aged 65 or more amounted to 15.9 trillion won in the first half, up 10.6 percent from a year earlier. The population aged 65 or more who are eligible for the national health insurance coverage takes up 13.6 percent of the total population in Korea. However, the medical cost for the senior group accounts for 40.8 percent of the total.
The average daily medical expense for a person aged 65 or more marked 85,229 won in the first half, up 6.9 percent from 79,826 won a year earlier.
The average monthly medical expense among people aged 65 or more was 362,732 won, about three times higher than the average monthly medical cost among the total population.
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