South Korea: Healthcare costs for seniors to quadruple by 2030
Source: Asia Insurance Review | Jun 2017
South Korea may have to spend over KRW90 trillion (US$80 billion) annually by 2030 on healthcare for seniors, when baby boomers (born 1955 to 1963) enter their old age, according to data from the National Health Insurance Corporation.
Total medical expenses for seniors aged 65 and above with national health insurance amounted to KRW22.2 trillion in 2015. The figure is expected to reach KRW35.6 trillion by 2020, and quadruple to KRW91.3 trillion by 2030, officials anticipated, reported Korea Bizwire.
Meanwhile, medical expenses for chronic diseases frequently suffered by the elderly have seen a rapid increase over the past decade. Total spending on treatment for five major diseases – high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, mental illnesses and periodontal diseases – quadrupled from KRW1.5 trillion in 2005 to KRW6.23 trillion in 2015.
The number of elderly patients spending more than KRW10 million per year for medical treatment also soared tenfold to 97,951 in 2015, accounting for 71% of all patients in the same spending category.
Community-centred medical system
“South Korea is neglecting the issue surrounding the cost of health care for the elderly,” the report said. “If the country maintains a medical system that centres around hospitals, all of the country’s resources will have to be bankrolling hospital charges and medical care by 2030.”
Officials suggest that a medical system that is community-centred, where seniors manage their health from home with visiting nurses or health care workers, could help maintain the country’s health insurance and long-term care insurance systems. A