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Sungchul Park 1 Article
Characteristics and Health Care Spending of Persistently and Transiently High-cost Older Adults in Korea
Sungchul Park, Giryeon Bae
J Prev Med Public Health. 2023;56(5):475-480.   Published online September 4, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.23.270
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDF
Objectives
This study examined differences in health care spending and characteristics among older adults in Korea by high-cost status (persistently, transiently, and never high-cost).
Methods
We identified 1 364 119 older adults using data from the Korean National Insurance Claims Database for 2017-2019. Outcomes included average annual total health care spending and high-cost status for 2017-2019. Linear regression was used to estimate differences in the outcomes while adjusting for individual-level characteristics.
Results
Persistently and transiently high-cost older adults had higher health care spending than never high-cost older adults, but the difference in health care spending was greater among persistently high-cost older adults than among transiently high-cost older adults (US$20 437 vs. 5486). Despite demographic and socioeconomic differences between transiently high-cost and never high-cost older adults, the presence of comorbid conditions remained the most significant factor. However, there were no or small differences in the prevalence of comorbid conditions between persistently high-cost and transiently high-cost older adults. Rather, notable differences were observed in socioeconomic status, including disability and receipt of Medical Aid.
Conclusions
Medical risk factors contribute to high health care spending to some extent, but social risk factors may be a source of persistent high-cost status among older adults in Korea.
Summary
Korean summary
- 한국에서 65세 이상의 고령층 고비용 환자 그룹 내에서 두 개의 이질적인 그룹을 발견하였다. - 지속적으로 고비용인 환자는 일시적으로 고비용인 환자보다 의료비 지출이 유의미하게 더 많았다. - 두 그룹의 특성을 비교한 결과, 건강요인의 차이도 있었지만 그보다는 사회적 요인의 차이가 더 컸다.
Key Message
- High-cost older adults are heterogeneous in terms of health care spending and sample characteristics in Korea. - Persistently high-cost older adults had significantly higher health care spending than transiently high-cost older adults. - Medical risk factors contribute to high health care spending to some extent, but social risk factors may be a source of persistent high-cost status among older adults.

JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health