Health care utilization and costs among medical-aid enrollees, the poor not enrolled in medical-aid, and the near poor in South Korea

Jae Woo Choi, Eun Cheol Park, Sung Youn Chun, Kyu Tae Han, Euna Han, Tae Hyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Although government has implemented medical-aid policy that provides assistance to the poor with almost free medical services, there are low-income people who do not receive necessary medical services in Korea. The aim of this study is to highlight the characteristics of Medical-Aid enrollees, the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid, and the near poor and their utilization and costs for health care. Methods: This study draws on the 2012 Korea Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS), a nationally representative dataset. We divided people with income less than 120% of the minimum cost of living (MCL) into three groups (n = 2,784): the poor enrolled in Medical-Aid, the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid (at or below 100% of MCL), and the near poor (100-120% of MCL). Using a cross-sectional design, this study provides an overview of health care utilization and costs of these three groups. Results: The findings of the study suggest that significantly lower health care utilization was observed for the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid compared to those enrolled in Medical-Aid. On the other hand, two groups (the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid, the near poor) had higher health care costs, percentage of medical expenses to income compared to Medical-Aid. Conclusion: Given the particularly low rate of the population enrolled in Medical-Aid, similarly economically vulnerable groups are more likely to face barriers to needed health services. Meeting the health needs of these groups is an important consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number128
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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