Background: As life expectancy has increased overall, health-related quality of life is now more important than ever. This is especially relevant in countries such as South Korea that are concerned about unmet healthcare needs and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Thus, we investigated the relationship between unmet healthcare needs and HRQoL in the general population. Methods: We used data from the 2011 to 2013 Korea Health Panel Survey, which included data from 8150 baseline participants of 19 years of age or older. We measured HRQoL using the EQ-5D and EQ-VAS indices. In addition, we used generalized estimating equations to perform a longitudinal regression analysis. Results: Approximately 13.1% of the participants (n = 1068) experienced unmet healthcare needs. Individuals with unmet healthcare needs due to economic hardship tended to have lower values than those without unmet healthcare needs for EQ-5D and EQ-VAS indices (EQ-5D: -2.688, P < 0.0001; EQ-VAS: -5.256, P < 0.0001). Additionally, when stratified by gender, both male and female subjects who had unmet healthcare needs and low economic status had a drastic decrease in HRQoL regardless of the reasons for their unmet healthcare needs. Conclusions: Unmet healthcare needs influences HRQoL, which was more pronounced in economically vulnerable groups. Thus, interventions to address HRQoL problems should focus on implementing a guarantee of healthcare services for economically vulnerable groups.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health