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The differences in health care utilization between Medical Aid and health insurance: a longitudinal study using propensity score matching

 Jae-Hyun Kim  ;  Kwang-Soo Lee  ;  Ki-Bong Yoo  ;  Eun-Cheol Park 
 PLOS ONE, Vol.10(3) : e0119939, 2015 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Adult ; Ambulatory Care/statistics & numerical data ; Female ; Humans ; Insurance, Health/statistics & numerical data* ; Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data ; Longitudinal Studies ; Male ; Middle Aged ; Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data* ; Propensity Score* ; Young Adult
STUDY OBJECTIVES: Health care utilization has progressively increased, especially among Medical Aid beneficiaries in South Korea. The Medical Aid classifies beneficiaries into two categories, type 1 and 2, on the basis of being incapable (those under 18 or over 65 years of age, or disabled) or capable of working, respectively. Medical Aid has a high possibility for health care utilization due to high coverage level. In South Korea, the national health insurance (NHI) achieved very short time to establish coverage for the entire Korean population. However there there remaine a number of problems to be solved. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the differences in health care utilization between Medical Aid beneficiaries and Health Insurance beneficiaries.

METHODS & DESIGN: Data were collected from the Korean Welfare Panel Study from 2008 to 2012 using propensity score matching. Of the 2,316 research subjects, 579 had Medical Aid and 1,737 had health insurance. We also analyzed three dependent variables: days spent in the hospital, number of outpatient visits, and hospitalizations per year. Analysis of variance and longitudinal data analysis were used.

RESULTS: The number of outpatient visits was 1.431 times higher (p<0.0001) in Medical Aid beneficiaries, the number of hospitalizations per year was 1.604 times higher (p<0.0001) in Medical Aid beneficiaries, and the number of days spent in the hospital per year was 1.282 times higher (p<0.268) for Medical Aid beneficiaries than in individuals with Health Insurance. Medical Aid patients had a 0.874 times lower frequency of having an unmet needs due to economic barrier (95% confidence interval: 0.662-1.156).

CONCLUSIONS: Health insurance coverage has an impact on health care utilization. More health care utilization among Medical Aid beneficiaries appears to have a high possibility of a moral hazard risk under the Health Insurance program. Therefore, the moral hazard for Medical Aid beneficiaries should be avoided.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Jae-Hyun(김재현)
Park, Eun-Cheol(박은철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2306-5398
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