Out-of-pocket Medication Expenditure Burden of Elderly Koreans with Chronic Conditions

Out-of-pocket Medication Expenditure Burden of Elderly Koreans with Chronic Conditions

Eun-Ja Park; Jin-Won Kwon; Eui-Kyung Lee; Jung, Young-Ho; Sylvia Park

cost burden; elderly people; Korea Health Panel Survey; medication; out-of-pocket expense
Elsevier Taiwan
International Journal of Gerontology, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 166 - 171
Journal Title
International Journal of Gerontology
Background: Asian countries including Korea face aging populations and lack well-designed social welfare systems for the elderly. The objective of this study was to compare the out-of-pocket (OOP) medication expenditure burden of elderly and nonelderly patients with chronic conditions and to identify those vulnerable to expenditure burden.
Methods: We analyzed data from the Korea Health Panel. We examined annual OOP medication expenditures in 2008, financial burden of OOP medication expenditures, and subjective feelings regarding the expenditure burden of elderly and nonelderly people. We conducted descriptive analyses and multiple regression analyses for those variables.
Results: One in 10 elderly people taking drugs for chronic conditions spent more than 10% of their income on medication, and the probability of having an expenditure burden among elderly persons was 3.8 times as high as that among the nonelderly. The low-income status of elderly Koreans, combined with the coinsurance payment policy, may result in a large medication cost burden.
Conclusion: Compared to nonelderly people in Korea, the elderly had greater OOP medication expenditures and were more vulnerable to OOP medication expenditure burden. In countries where social security systems are not sufficiently developed, payment policies for pharmaceuticals that consider the income status of the poor elderly need to be implemented.
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