One in six Koreans avoid going to hospital when they are ill because they are afraid they cannot afford to pay. And among the elderly, one in three would rather endure pain than go to hospital.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said 16.9 percent of adults over 19 and 16.6 percent of minors were unable to seek help from hospitals for economic reasons. The percentage soared among the elderly to 35.7 percent for general treatment and to 50.5 percent for dental treatment.
The proportion goes up with age and down with higher incomes
Among people in their 70s, 42.3 percent sought no medical treatment; in their 60s 27.6 percent; in their 50s 18.2 percent; in their 40 13.7 percent; in their 30s 9.3 percent; and in their 20s 8.9 percent.