Brain Neurorehabil.  2010 Sep;3(2):86-93. 10.12786/bn.2010.3.2.86.

The Cost of Brain Disorder: Individual and Social Cost

  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Korea.
  • 2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul Metropolitan Government-Seoul National University Boramae Medical Center, Korea.
  • 3Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Chungbuk National University School of Medicine, Korea.
  • 4Department of Stroke Rehabilitation, National Rehabilitation Center, Korea.
  • 5Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Korea.
  • 6Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Inha University College of Medicine, Korea.
  • 7Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seognam Center of Senior Health, Korea.
  • 8Graduate School of East-West Medical Science, Kyunghee University, Korea.


OBJECTIVE: To estimate the cost of brain disorders from individual and social aspects. METHOD: This study employed two complementary methodologies for the estimation: individual survey and collective statistics. The survey recruited 1903 disabled persons, staying at home, registered at public health center as brain disorders. They were asked about epidemiologic, clinical variables, medical cost, employment status and pre-/post-morbid incomes. Collective statistics included mortality data from the national statistical office, report on wage structure report from the ministry of labor and national health insurance statistical yearbook from the national health insurance corporation. Individual cost of brain disorders was estimated by summing direct medical cost and indirect cost from productivity loss (job loss or decreased income). Social cost also comprised direct medical cost and indirect cost; indirect cost corresponded to productivity loss due to healthcare utilization, job loss, decreased income and premature death.
Individual cost of brain disorders was 164,041,000 Korean Won (KRW) per patient. 93.3% of the subjects of the survey who were pre-morbidly employed lost their job and the income of those who maintained employment decreased to 51.5% of original income on average. Social cost of brain disorder in 2005 was 9,901,057,327,000 KRW. Major part of social cost was due to job loss.
Brain disorder imposes substantial amount of economic cost, individually and socially. Especially job loss from disability after brain disorder takes up the largest portion. The results of the study are expected to serve as a foundation for future research and healthcare policy.


brain disorders; cost of illness; individual & social cost; Korea; socioeconomic factors
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