Work Program Cuts Medical Bills for the Elderly

      May 04, 2015 08:37

      The working elderly spend W550,000 less on medical expenses a year than the retired, according to a report.

      The report by the Seoul National University found that annual medical expenses of senior citizens who took part in a work program offered by the Ministry of Health and Welfare shrank by W545,994 last year (US$1=W1,075).

      In 2013, elderly people spent an average of W3.05 million on medical care per person.

      But the report found that just one month's participation in the job program reduced medical spending by W77,563. The central and provincial governments pay W200,000 a month to participants in the program. Currently there are 281,000 people in the program.

      The effect was more pronounced the older the participants were. Medical bills were reduced by W297,753 among those in their 60s, by W608,296 among those in their 70s, and W826,514 among those in their 80s.

      Work apparently had beneficial effects for people with chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and joint diseases. Participants who had one or no chronic disease saw their medical bills shrink by W527,012, and those with two or more by W986,350.

      They spent 3.76 days less in hospital, and 0.94 days less recuperating.

      Lee Suk-won of Seoul National University said, "There are a lot of social gains if senior citizens work. They feel less isolated and depressed as their social relationships are restored. It would be ideal if more jobs could be created for the elderly as well as volunteer opportunities for those who don't need the extra money."

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