Background: Although government has implemented medical-aid policy that provides assistance to the poor with almost free medical services, there are low-income people who do not receive necessary medical services in Korea. The aim of this study is to highlight the characteristics of Medical-Aid enrollees, the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid, and the near poor and their utilization and costs for health care. Methods: This study draws on the 2012 Korea Welfare Panel Study (KOWEPS), a nationally representative dataset. We divided people with income less than 120% of the minimum cost of living (MCL) into three groups (n = 2,784): the poor enrolled in Medical-Aid, the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid (at or below 100% of MCL), and the near poor (100-120% of MCL). Using a cross-sectional design, this study provides an overview of health care utilization and costs of these three groups. Results: The findings of the study suggest that significantly lower health care utilization was observed for the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid compared to those enrolled in Medical-Aid. On the other hand, two groups (the poor not enrolled in Medical-Aid, the near poor) had higher health care costs, percentage of medical expenses to income compared to Medical-Aid. Conclusion: Given the particularly low rate of the population enrolled in Medical-Aid, similarly economically vulnerable groups are more likely to face barriers to needed health services. Meeting the health needs of these groups is an important consideration.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 Choi et al.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health