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HOME > Korean J Prev Med > Volume 30(2); 1997 > Article
Original Article Trend of Medical Care Utilization and Medical Expenditure of the Elderly Cohort.
Kyeong Soo Lee, Pock Soo Kang
Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health 1997;30(2):437-461
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Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Korea.

Because of a significant improvement in the economic situation and development of scientific techniques in Korea during the last 30 years, the life expectancy of the Korean people has lengthened considerably and as a result, the number of the elderly has markedly increased. Such an increase of the number of aged population brought about many social, economic, and medical problems which were never seriously considered before. This study was conducted to assess the trend of medical care utilization and medical expenditure of the elderly. The data of each patient in the study were taken from computer database maintained for administrative purpose by the Korea Medical Insurance Corporation. The study population was 132,670 who were 60 years old or more and registered in Korean Medical Insurance Corporation from 1989 to 1993. The study subjects were predominantly female(56.3%) and 10,000-20,000 Won premium group(50.6%). The following are summaries of findings : The total increase of the number of inpatient cases was 40.5% from 1989 through 1993. The average annual increase was 3.7% in inpatient medical expenditures per case, 4.4% in inpatient medical expenditures per day and 0.08% in length of stay per case from 1989 through 1993. Cataract was the most prevalent disease of 10 leading frequent diseases in all ages from 1989 through 1993. The case mix in 1993 compared to 1989 revealed that cataract and ischemic cerebral disease were increased whereas essential hypertension and pulmonary tuberculosis were decreased. The average annual increase of medical expenditures was 3.8% in general hospitals, 6.3% in hospitals and 2.4% in clinics. From 1989 through 1993, medical expenditures used by high-cost patients accounted for about 14% to 20% of all expenditures for inpatient care, while they represented less than 2.5% of the elderly population. Time series analysis revealed that total medical expenditures and doctor's fee for inpatient will be progressively increased whereas drug expenditures for inpatient will be decreased. And there will be no change in length of stay. Based on the above results, the factors increasing medical cost and utilization should be identified and the method of cost containment for the elderly health care should be developed systematically.

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health