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Korea’s health care subsidies among lowest in OECD

South Korea spends the least in supporting its citizens’ health care costs among OECD nations, a study showed Wednesday.

According to the study provided by the National Assembly Research Service, government support for the nation’s health care expenses, such as through the national health insurance payments, accounted for only 54.5 percent of total health care costs in 2012. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development average was 72.3 percent.

The study also showed that 45.5 percent of health care costs in Korea were paid by the citizens themselves, or via their private insurance payments. 
A study showed that 45.5 percent of health care costs in Korea were paid by the citizens themselves, or via their private insurance payments. (Yonhap)
A study showed that 45.5 percent of health care costs in Korea were paid by the citizens themselves, or via their private insurance payments. (Yonhap)

Only three other countries -- the U.S., Chile and Mexico -- had lower government spending on health care expenses than Korea.

With its growing elderly population, Korea’s increase rate for health care costs has been rising significantly in recent years. The costs increased by 4.9 percent in 2012 from the year before, which was more than three times higher than the OECD average increase rate at 1.6 percent.

Jeong Mi-ya, who participated in the research, said more health conditions should be covered by the national health insurance program to reduce the economic burden of illness or injury in Korean households.

The World Health Organization states that the provision of adequate financial protection -- “from the costs of seeking and using medical care” -- is a significant marker of the effectiveness of a health care system.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)





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