Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending by the Poor and Chronically Ill in the Republic of Korea

American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 97, No. 5, pp. 804-811, May 2007

8 Pages Posted: 1 May 2007

See all articles by Jennifer Prah Ruger

Jennifer Prah Ruger

University of Pennsylvania - School of Social Policy & Practice; University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine

Hakju Kim

Gyeongsang National University

Abstract

Objectives: We estimated out-of-pocket health care spending and out-of-pocket spending burden ratio employing household equivalent income in the Republic of Korea. We examined variations in out-of-pocket spending, estimated out-of-pocket spending burden ratio employing household equivalent income, and identified factors associated with out-of-pocket spending.

Methods: We used the 1998 Korean National Health and Nutrition Survey, a nationally representative survey of 39,060 individuals. Our analyses examined out-of-pocket spending, out-of-pocket spending burden ratio, and health care use by socioeconomic status, insurance type, health care facility type, and chronic condition after we controlled for sociodemographic variables.

Results: The lowest income quintile spent 12.5% of their total income out-of-pocket on medical expenditures, which was 6 times that of the highest income quintile (2%). Among those with 3 or more chronic conditions, low-income Koreans had the highest out-of-pocket spending burden ratio (20%), which was 5 times the spending burden among high-income Koreans (4%). In multivariate analyses, the number of chronic conditions, insurance type, health care use, and health care facility type were associated with out-of-pocket spending.

Conclusions: Out-of-pocket spending in Korea is regressive, because lower-income groups pay disproportionately more of their income compared with higher-income groups. Low-income individuals with multiple chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable.

Keywords: out-of-pocket spending, healthcare, Republic of Korea, equity, Hak-Ju Kim

JEL Classification: I11, I31

Suggested Citation

Prah Ruger, Jennifer and Kim, Hakju, Out-of-Pocket Healthcare Spending by the Poor and Chronically Ill in the Republic of Korea. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 97, No. 5, pp. 804-811, May 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=983507

Jennifer Prah Ruger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - School of Social Policy & Practice ( email )

3701 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
United States

University of Pennsylvania - Perelman School of Medicine

423 Guardian Drive
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Hakju Kim

Gyeongsang National University ( email )

Chinju City, South Kyongsang
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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