J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2002 Dec;6(2):69-78.

Health Care in Aging Society: Challenges and Future Direction in Korea

  • 1School of Public Health, Hallym University, Seoul, Korea. ssbae@hallym.ac.kr


The rapid increase in the elderly population exercises large pressures on the Korean health care system. A nationwide survey showed that over 80% of the elderly were suffering from one or more chronic diseases and about 20% of the elderly had problem in ADL or IADL in 2001. Medical utilization and expenditures per NHI claims of the elderly has increased faster than that of the non-elderly. The elderly, about 7% of the population, used up 17.7% of the NHI expenditures in 2001. The rapid population aging is expected to put more severe stresses on the Korean health care system over the coming decades. Korea has long had a reputation for being laggardly as a welfare state and is famous for its tradition of family care for the elderly. However, the social and cultural changes in Korea imply that we can no longer depend heavily on family support for long-term care of the elderly, without developing the formal caregiving system. Korean government has now searching a comprehensive solution to the problem of caring for fragile older people. This paper critically reviews the policy and action plan for long-term care for elderly proposed by the MOHSA and suggests some recommendation for efficient and highly qualified long-term care services.


Longterm care; Elderly; Health policy
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