As Korea's population continues to age, medical expenses for senior citizens accounted for over one-third of the total for the first time last year, according to the National Health Insurance Corporation on Sunday.
The NHIC said a total of W47.84 trillion was spent for medical treatment in 2012, of which W16.45 trillion, or 34.4 percent, was for patients aged 65 and older. This marks a 1.1 percentage point jump from a year earlier.
Total medical spending has almost doubled from 2005, when it was about W24.86 trillion.
The rise is mainly attributable to higher numbers of elderly patients as the proportion of medical expenses for senior citizens grew 10 percentage points from 24.4 percent over the same period.