SEOUL, May 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Medical spending for the elderly people covered by South Korea’s state health insurance program surpassed 40 percent of its total medical outlay in 2018, data showed Sunday.
The steady rise of medical and healthcare costs for elderly people came as South Korea’s population is rapidly aging, with the portion of people aged 65 or older expected to hit 20 percent of its population in 2026.
According to the data by the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS), medical expenses for people aged 65 and older came to 31.6 trillion won (US$26.6 billion) last year.
The figure accounts for a 40.8 percent of 77.6 trillion won spent by the NHIS last year.
The number of people aged 65 and older who are covered by the NHIS stood at 7.09 million, accounting for 13.9 percent of people who are covered by the NHIS, according to the data
The NHIS spent, on average, 378,657 won for every elderly citizen per month in 2018, up 9.4 percent from year ago.
In comparison, the NHIS funded an average 126,891 won per month for people in all age groups last year.
Medical spending for the elderly people covered by the NHIS has been on a steady rise.
In 2017, the NHIS spent 27.6 trillion won for medical spending for the elderly people, compared with 25.1 trillion won in 2016 and 21.8 trillion won in 2015.