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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 60(12); 2017 > Article
Journal of the Korean Medical Association 2017;60(12):936-939.
Published online December 20, 2017.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5124/jkma.2017.60.12.936   
The fantasy of a new healthcare policy in Korea
Dae Seog Heo
Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. heo1013@snu.ac.kr
According to Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development health statistics data, out-of-pocket expenditures account for 36.8% of current health expenditures in Korea, in contrast to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development average of 20.3%. The government has announced the implementation of a new healthcare policy to reduce out-of-pocket expenditures. Korea already has a universal coverage system for most essential health care services. Even though health services based on out-of-pocket expenditures are usually optional, and are supported by lower levels of evidence, the National Health Insurance program has promised to cover all medical services except for cosmetic plastic surgery. This will drive more demand for optional health services and drain healthcare resources. Korea needs improvement of its quality care system instead of high-cost optional services, because of the rapid transition to an aging society.
Key Words: Health expenditures, Delivery of health care, Insurance coverage, Policy


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