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OECD director stresses ‘sustainable financing’ in health insurance
  • By Constance Williams
  • Published 2017.06.21 10:46
  • Updated 2017.06.21 10:46
  • comments 0

Francesca Colombo, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s health director, cited financing as a stumbling block to the sustainability of healthcare service in Korea.

Colombo pointed out, in her presentation on the theme of “future challenges of the Korean health insurance system,” that most of the national health insurance is taxed on earned income. But with the high elderly rate, it's hard to provide financing through revenue, she noted.

OECD’s health director, Francesca Colombo, makes her presentation “future challenges of the Korean health insurance system,” during a symposium to celebrate the 40th anniversary of national health insurance, held at COEX, southern Seoul, on Tuesday.

"Korea's NHI finance is funded by a lot of income tax. However, the economically active population of Korea is decreasing due to aging,” Colombo said at an international symposium on the 40th anniversary of national health insurance, held at COEX, southern Seoul, on Tuesday. "We have to worry about where we will cover the finances that come from the income tax.”

Commenting on the efficiency of medical services to reduce costs, Colombo advised that Korea should reduce hospital use at a higher rate than other countries.

"Korea has a higher percentage of hospital admissions and longer hospital stays than other OCED countries. A paradigm shift is necessary to reduce dependence on hospitals and to be able to receive continuous medical services around residential areas," she said.

Colombo pointed out that it is not desirable to reduce the “preventive sector” finances to use the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) funds efficiently.

"We should take advantage of Korea's advantages to increase the cost efficiency. Based on the advanced IT system, we will be able to prepare for the future if we use big data," Colombo said.

Professor Park Ha-jung of Gachon University of Social Science voiced out his opinions on the issue of financial sustainability.

“To maintain the health of the NHIS, we must individually consider how much the public can accept the premium burden,” Park said. “I think the ceiling that the people can accommodate is about 8 percent raise. It is important to create a sustainable system.”

Park also said it is necessary to form a consensus with these specific figures but noted that such a discussion is possible only on the condition that the financial support for the health insurance system is maintained.


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