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Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 2005;38(1): 107-116.
Changes in Distributive Equity of Health Insurance Contribution Burden.
Hee Chung Kang, Eun Cheol Park, Kyu Sik Lee, Tae Kyu Park, Woo Jin Chung, Han Joong Kim
1Yonsei University Graduate School of Public Health, Korea.
2National Cancer Center, Korea.
3Department of Health Administration, College of Health Sciences, Yonsei University, Korea.
4Department of Economics, Yonsei University, Korea.
5Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University, Korea. kimhj@yumc.yonsei.ac.kr
OBJECTIVES: We analyzed the changes from 1996 to 2002 in distributive equity of the contribution burden in the Korean National Health Insurance. METHODS: The study subjects were a total of 8, 923 employee households and a total of 7, 296 self-employed households over the period from 1996 to 2002. Those were the households meeting the two criteria as completing each annual survey and having no change in the job of head of the household during that period from the raw data of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey annually conducted by the Korean National Statistical Office. The unit of analysis was a household, and this was the standard for assessing the contribution that is now applied on a monthly basis. Deciles Distribution Ratio, Contribution Concentration Curve and Contribution Concentration Index were estimated as the index of inequality. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to compare the annual ability-to-pay elasticity of the contribution to the reference year of 1996 for three groups (all households, the employee households, and the self-employed households). RESULTS: For the index of inequality, the distributive equity of contribution was improved in all three groups. In particular, the employee group experienced a substantial improvement. Using multiple regression analysis, the ability-to-pay elasticity of the contribution in the employee group significantly increased ( beta=0.232, p< 0.0001) in the year 2002 as compared to the reference year of 1996. The elasticity in the self-employed group also significantly increased ( beta=0.186, p< 0.05), although its change was smaller than that in the employee group. CONCLUSIONS: The employee group had a greater improvement for the distributive equity of the contribution burden than the self-employed group. Within the observation period, there were two important integration reforms: one was the integration of 227 self-employed societies in 1998 and the other was the integration of 139 employee societies in 2000. We expected that the equity of the contribution burden would be improved for the self-employed group since the integration reform of 1998. However, it was not improved for the self-employed group until the year 2000. This result suggests that capturing exactly the beneficiaries' ability-to-pay such as income is the precedent for distributive equity of the contribution burden, although a more sophisticated imposition standard of contribution is needed.
Key words: Health insurance contribution; Ability to pay; Equity
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