20% of Korea's Medical Spending Unnecessary

  • By Kim Sung-mo

    June 21, 2017 10:58

    About 20 percent of medical costs in Korea are being incurred from unnecessary hospitalizations, treatments, surgeries and visits to the emergency room, an OECD health expert said Tuesday.

    Francesca Colombo, head of the OECD Health Division, made the claim during a symposium in Seoul to mark the 40th anniversary of the Korean national health insurance system this year.

    She stressed that Korea needs to secure resources for sustainable health insurance by cutting down on unnecessary medical costs.

    The average period of hospitalization for patients in Korea is 16.5 days, which is more than double the OECD average of 8.1 days. For every 100,000 people, 310.7 diabetic patients get hospitalized, which is also more than double the OECD average.

    Colombo pointed out that Korea needs to reduce such waste to secure resources to increase the accessibility and coverage of health care.

    In order to prepare for a rapidly ageing society, the country needs to make efforts to diversify finances for public health and medicine, and change the public health paradigm towards encouraging prevention of illnesses and highlighting the importance of self care, she added. 

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