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HOME > J Prev Med Public Health > Volume 39(5); 2006 > Article
English Abstract Cost-of-illness Study of Asthma in Korea: Estimated from the Korea National Health Insurance Claims Database.
Choon Seon Park, Hye Young Kang, Il Kwon, Dae Ryong Kang, Hye Young Jung
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2006;39(5):397-403
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1Health Insurance Review Agency, Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Korea.
2National Health Personnel Licensing Examination Board, Korea.
3Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Korea.

We estimated the asthma-related health care utilization and costs in Korea from the insurer's and societal perspective. METHODS: We extracted the insurance claims records from the Korea National Health Insurance claims database for determining the health care services provided to patients with asthma in 2003. Patients were defined as having asthma if they had > or =2 medical claims with diagnosis of asthma and they had been prescribed anti-asthma medicines. Annual claims records were aggeregated for each patient to produce patient-specific information on the total utilization and costs. The total asthma-related cost was the sum of the direct healthcare costs, the transportation costs for visits to healthcare providers and the patient's or caregivers' costs for the time spent on hospital or outpatient visits. RESULTS: A total of 699,603people were identified as asthma patients, yielding an asthma prevalence of 1.47%. Each asthma patient had 7.56 outpatient visits, 0.01 ED visits and 0.02 admissions per year to treat asthma.The per-capita insurance-covered costs increased with age, from 128,276 Won for children aged 1 to 14 years to 270,729 Won for those aged 75 or older. The total cost in the nation varied from 121,865 million to 174,949 million Won depending on the perspectives. From a societal perspective, direct healthcare costs accounted for 84.9%, transportation costs for 15.1% and time costs for 9.2% of the total costs. CONCLUSIONS: Hospitalizations and ED visits represented only a small portion of the asthma-related costs. Most of the societal burden was attributed to direct medical expenditures, with outpatient visits and medications emerging as the single largest cost components.

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health