Health Policy Manag.  2019 Mar;29(1):86-89. 10.4332/KJHPA.2019.29.1.86.

Catastrophic Health Expenditure and Trend of South Korea in 2017

  • 1Department of Public Health, Yonsei University Graduate School, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Institute of Health Services Research, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Catastrophic health expenditure refers to spending more than a certain level of household's income on healthcare expenditure. The aim of this study was to investigate the proportion of households that experienced catastrophic health expenditure between 2006 and 2017 with the National Survey of Tax and Benefit (NaSTaB) and between 2011 to 2016 using Households Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) data. The results of the NaSTaB showed 2.16% of households experienced the catastrophic health expenditure in 2017. In trend analysis, the NaSTaB revealed a statistically significant decreasing trend (annual percentage change [APC]=−2.01, p<0.001) in the proportion of households with the catastrophic health expenditure. On the other hand, the results of the HIES showed 2.92% of households experienced the catastrophic health expenditure in 2016. Also, there was a slightly increasing trend (APC=1.43, p<0.001). In subgroup analysis, groups with lower income levels were likely to experience catastrophic health expenditure. In conclusion, further public support system is needed to lower experience these healthcare expenditures and monitor the low income group.


Catastrophic health expenditure; Trend; Income; Expenditure

MeSH Terms

Delivery of Health Care
Family Characteristics
Health Expenditures*
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