Saf Health Work.  2018 Dec;9(4):462-467. 10.1016/

Effect of Work on Medical Expenditures by Elderly: Findings From the Korean Health Panel 2008–2013

  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Dongguk University, Republic of Korea.


This study was conducted to investigate the effects of work on medical expenditures by the elderly.
Data pertaining to individuals aged 65 or older collected by the Korean Health Panel 2008–2013 were used. The effects of work on medical expenditures were analyzed in a panel tobit model adjusted for several variables of demographic factors, socioeconomic factors, and health factors for health care. Data were also analyzed based on age groups (65–74, 75≤), type of work (waged or self-employed), and working time (daytime work or night time work).
Among the elderly older than 65 years, 34–37% were workers. Work among the elderly reduced medical expenditures relative to nonworking elderly. Specifically, medical expenditures were lower in individuals older than 75 years, as well as among those who were self-employed insured and had medical aid insurance and those who exercised. However, medical expenditures were higher among females, married individuals, those with a higher household income, and those with a chronic disease. Elderly wageworkers showed reduced medical expenditures than nonworking elderly and elderly daytime workers did.
The elderly population's work, especially wage work and daytime work, reduced medical expenditures relative to no work. These results provide valuable information for policymakers by indicating that work was associated with lower medical expenditures than no work. If elderly work is to be encouraged, it is necessary to provide a variety of high-quality wage work.


Elderly; Korean health panel; Medical expenditure; Work
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