The impact of economic crisis on health-care consumption in Korea

Health Policy Plan. 2001 Dec;16(4):372-85. doi: 10.1093/heapol/16.4.372.


This study uses urban household income-expenditure survey data, national health insurance claims data, and public health centre surveys to examine the impact of economic crisis on the consumption of health services in Korea. The analysis shows that the health-care consumption of Korean households has been adversely affected by the recent economic crisis, as measured by amount of expenditure on health. Distributional implications for health sector use are also found. Whereas the use of medical services by upper income groups is only slightly affected by the economic crisis, lower income groups are spending relatively less on medical services. Of all households, unemployed households are hit hardest by the crisis. Analysis shows that for all households, the rate of expenditure decrease is relatively higher for drug expenditure than for expenditure on medical services. That is, facing declining income, people cut their spending in the area where the need is non-essential or less inevitable.

MeSH terms

  • Budgets / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Family Characteristics
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services / economics
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Korea
  • National Health Programs
  • Social Class
  • Unemployment