Health Policy Manag.  2018 Dec;28(4):339-351. 10.4332/KJHPA.2018.28.4.339.

Econometric Analysis of the Difference in Medical Use among Income Groups in Korea: 2015

  • 1Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs, Sejong, Korea.


The purpose of this study is to estimate empirically whether there is a difference in medical use among income groups, and if so, how much. This study applies econometric model to the most recent year of Korean Medical Panel, 2015. The model consists of outpatient service and inpatient service models.
The probit model is applied to the model which indicate whether or not the medical care has been used. Two step estimation method using maximum likelihood estimation is applied to the models of outpatient visits, hospital days, and outpatient and inpatient out-of-pocket cost models, with disconnected selection problems.
The results show that there was the inequality favorable to the low income group in medical care use. However, after controlling basic medical needs, there were no inequities among income groups in the outpatient visit model and the model of probability of inpatient service use. However, there were inequities favorable to the upper income groups in the models of probability of outpatient service use and outpatient out-of-pocket cost and the models of the number of length of stay and inpatient out-of-pocket cost. In particular, it shows clearly how the difference in outpatient service and inpatient service utilizations by income groups when basic medical needs are controlled.
This means that the income contributes significantly to the degree of inequality in outpatient and inpatient care services. Therefore, the existence of medical care use difference under the same medical needs among income groups is a problem in terms of equity of medical care use, so great efforts should be made to establish policies to improve equity among income groups.


Inequity; Inequality; Difference in medical use among income groups; Econometric method
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