Medical Expenses Paid by a Household

Indicator Description

  • A. Definition

    The expenses directly borne by the patient other than the government expenditure and various private sources among the medical expenses paid by the whole of the public for the use of health services, the expenses directly borne by the patient other than the government expenditure and various private sources

  • B. How to measure

    Total amount of medical expenses: Including government mandatory enrollment system, voluntary enrollment system, and household direct burden

    Household direct burden ratio = household direct burden medical expenses / total medical expenses ✕ 100

    • Government mandatory enrollment system: Government spending and (obligatory) enrollment social insurance
    • Voluntary enrollment system: Expenditure of voluntary health insurance and nonprofit organizations or entities
    • Household direct burden: Non-salaried/statutory own burdens
  • C. Features and Sources

    Category Sub-Category Sub-Subcategory Type of Indicator Reference Data Sources First year data available Periodicity
    Social Rights Right to Health Discrimination in Health Services Objective/Result Ministry of Health and Welfare National Health Account 1970 1 year
  • D. Interpretation

    According to Article 45(1) of the Act on Health and Medical Services, ‘the State and local governments shall formulate and implement necessary policies to provide appropriate health and medical treatment services to disadvantaged classes, including senior citizens and disabled persons.’ Likewise, access to health care services is an important factor in determining the health of the population. The government is investigating how much is spent on health care based on total medical expenditure, financial resources, and type of medical care each year through the National Health Account. It is important for the state to ensure that individuals are able to tolerate damage caused by unexpected illnesses or accidents. The extent to which the costs incurred by the health care provider are directly borne by the public after the burden is a measure of the welfare state. In detail, the total medical expenditure in 2017 was 131 trillion won, about 50 trillion won more than 2010, when total medical expenditure was 82 trillion won. During the same period, the household direct burden ratio steadily decreased from 37.3% to 34.3% by 2017. However, expenditure on voluntary subscription systems, such as private insurance, which is classified as private medical expenses, is continuously increasing. The share of actual private medical expenditure is about 43.6%, which is somewhat different from the statistical standard. In 2018, the government continued its efforts to prevent health inequalities caused by economic conditions and to reduce household debt due to diseases through the expansion of health insurance coverage.

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