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Seniors account for 41% of total medical expense
  • By Kim Eun-young
  • Published 2019.11.07 15:16
  • Updated 2019.11.07 16:10
  • comments 0

The nation’s total medical cost covered by national health insurance went up 10.1 percent on-year to 77.91 trillion won last year, according to the 2018 Health Insurance Statistics Report, published jointly by the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service and the National Health Insurance Service,

An average Korean visited a medical institution or got hospitalized for 1.72 days in 2018, inching up 1.6 percent compared to a year earlier. The number of patients who spent more than 5 million won a year stood at 2.57 million, accounting for 5.3 percent of the total patients.

Excluding non-reimbursable medical service, medical expenses covered by health insurance took up 45.5 percent of the total medical spending.

The healthcare cost for seniors increased to 31.82 trillion won, a record-high figure that marked an increase of 12.4 percent from a year earlier. Compared to 2011, the number more than doubled. The elderly population increased by 286,000 to 7.09 million, representing 13.9 percent of the total population. The medical spending for seniors took up 40.8 percent of the total medical cost.

An average senior spent 4,568,000 won as healthcare expenses last year. The amount exceeded 4 million won mark in five years since surpassing the 3 million won mark (3,076,000 won) in 2012.

Last year, 52.7 percent of the 2.09 million patients, who were subject to the benefit of paying only 10 percent of the medical cost due to serious illnesses, were in their 60s. Among patients in their 60s, 626,183 people received treatment because of cancer. An additional 373,882 had a rare or intractable disease, 67,129, heart problems, 44,998, brain diseases, and 3,874, severe burns.

Amid the low birthrate, the number of baby deliveries went down 8.7 percent on-year to 327,119 in 2018. The number of natural childbirths slid 12.4 percent to 172,441, and cesarean births, down 4.1 percent to 154,678.

The number of maternity organs also declined 2.4 percent to 567 last year. More specifically, there were 279 clinics, 145 hospitals, 86 general hospitals, 41 tertiary hospitals, and 16 maternity clinics.

About 18 million people had to see a doctor to treat at least one of the 12 chronic diseases. Some 6.31 million had hypertension, 4.8 million had arthritis, 3.1 million had a mental and behavioral disorder, and 3.09 million had nerve system diseases.

The number of people with the chronic renal disease increased 10.7 percent from 210,000 in 2017 to 230,000 in 2018. Those with liver disease also rose 8.8 percent from 1.63 million to 1.77 million during the same period. In contrast, patients with respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis, declined 12.5 percent from 60,000 to 52,000 over the period.


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