Korea's Medical Spending to Exceed W100 Trillion This Year

This year's national medical spending is likely to surpass W100 trillion for the first time, according to a report by the National Health Insurance Corporation (US$1=W1,073). National medical spending is the sum of health insurance payouts, individual medical costs and the government's budget for the disease prevention.

The report said spending so far this year amounts to W101.2 trillion, or 7.7 percent of GDP. This means each person bears medical costs of more than W2 million this year.

The institute also predicted that the aging society will bring national medical spending to W217.5 trillion in 2019, more than double this year's expenditure, and to W419.2 trillion in 2025.

The ratio of national medical spending to the GDP will also soar, the institute added, from 7.7 percent this year to the OECD average of 8.8 percent in 2015. It will reach 10.4 percent in 2018 and 15.3 percent in 2025.

"If this trend continues, medical spending will most likely reach a level that the state and households find it hard to bear," the institute warned.

Meanwhile, the average medical expenses of each Korean over their lifetime are W100 million. According to an estimate by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute, each Korean woman's lifetime medical expense is estimated at W114.3 million and each Korean man's at W95.89 million.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 18, 2012 12:17 KST