Health Policy Manag.  2020 Mar;30(1):126-130. 10.4332/KJHPA.2020.30.1.126.

Catastrophic Health Expenditure and Trend of South Korea in 2018

  • 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 measure the level of the economic burden of households due to medical expenses. The purpose of this study was to examine the proportion of households that experienced catastrophic health expenditure between 2006 and 2018 using available data from the National Survey of Tax and Benefit (NaSTaB), Korea Health Panel (KHP), and Households Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES). Trend test was used to analyze the proportion of household with catastrophic healthcare expenditure. The households experienced the catastrophic health expenditure 2.08% in 2018 using the NaSTaB data. Trend analysis was significant with the decreasing trend (Annual Percentage Change [APC], -4.88; p<0.0001) in the proportion of households with the catastrophic health expenditure. On the other hand, the results of the HIES showed 2.92%, and KHP showed 2.48% of households experienced the catastrophic health expenditure in 2016. The trend was significantly increased in HIES (APC, 1.43; p<0.0001) and KHP (APC, 6.68; p<0.0001). Therefore, this suggests that further interventions to alleviate the burden of catastrophic health expenditure to the low-income group are needed.


Catastrophic health expenditure; Trend; Income; Health expenditures
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