The average cost of 33 types of major surgery has increased by 22% from 2011 to 2016, increasing concerns that families might become the "medi-poor" due to healthcare spending, according to the Korea Life Insurance Association.
For example, the cost of heart surgery alone skyrocketed by 73.2% over the same period.
Total healthcare expenditure doubled to KRW54.6 trillion (US$51.3 billion) in 2016 from KRW27.5 trillion in 2008, reports Korea Bizwire. In addition, 29.6% of all medical treatment expenses fell to cases where patients required medical care costing more than KRW10 million each.
While factors like aging, environmental change and elevated levels of fine dust are driving up the risk of contracting illnesses, the fiscal burden of receiving healthcare is also continuing to rise with new medical technology and equipment.
The Korea Life Association is urging individuals to acquire CI (critical illness) or GI (general illness) health insurance plans, to protect themselves against medical costs.