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국민건강보험 발전방향

Other Titles
 Future Direction of National Health Insurance 
 Korean Journal of Health Policy and Administration, Vol.21(4) : 273-275, 2017 
Journal Title
 Korean Journal of Health Policy and Administration (보건행정학회지) 
Issue Date
National Health Insurance ; Reform ; Direction
It has been forty years since the implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) in South Korea. Following the 1977 legislature mandating medical insurance for employees and dependents in firms with more than 500 employees, South Korea expanded its health insurance to urban residents in 1989. Resultantly, total expenses of the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) have greatly increased from 4.5 billion won in 1977 to 50.89 trillion won in 2016. With multiple insurers merging into the NHI system in 2000, a single-payer healthcare system emerged, along with separation policy of prescribing and dispensing. Following such reform, an emerging financial crisis required injections from the National Health Promotion Fund. Forty years following the introduction of the NHI system, both praise and criticism have been drawn. In just 12 years, the NHI achieved the fastest health population coverage in the world. Current medical expenditure is not high relative to the rest of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The quality of acute care in Korea is one of the best in the world. There is no sign of delayed diagnosis and/or treatment for most diseases. However, the NHI has been under-insured, requiring high-levels of out-of-pocket money from patients and often causing catastrophic medical expenses. Furthermore, the current environmental circumstances of the NHI are threatening its sustainability. Low birth rate decline, as well as slow economic growth, will make sustainment of the current healthcare system difficult in the near future. An aging population will increase the amount of medical expenditure required, especially with the baby-boomer generation of those born between 1955 and 1965. Meanwhile, there is always the problem of unification for the Korean Peninsula, and what role the health insurance system will have to play when it occurs. In the presidential election, health insurance is a main issue; however, there is greater focus on expansion and expenditure than revenue. Many aspects of Korea's NHI system (1977) were modeled after the German (1883) and Japanese (1922) systems. Such systems were created during an era where infections disease control was most urgent and thus, in the current non-communicable disease (NCD) era, must be redesigned. The Korean system, which is already forty years old, must be redesigned completely. Although health insurance benefit expansion is necessary, financial measures, as well as moral hazard control measures, must also be considered. Ultimately, there are three aspects that we must consider when attempting redesign of the system. First, the health security system must be reformed. NHI and Medical Aid must be amalgamated into one system for increased effectiveness and efficiency of the system. Within the single insurer system of the NHI must be an internal market for maximum efficiency. The NHIS must be separated into regions so that regional organizers have greater responsibility over their actions. Although insurance must continue to be imposed nationally, risk-adjustment must be distributed regionally and assessed by different regional systems. Second, as a solution for the decreasing flow of insurance revenue, low premium level must be increased to an appropriate level. Likewise, the national reserve fund (No. 36, National Health Insurance Act) must be enlarged for re-unification preparation. Third, there must be revolutionary reform of benefit package. The current system built a focus on communicable diseases which is inappropriate in this NCD era. Medical benefits must not be one-time events but provide chronic disease management. Chronic care models, accountable care organization, patient-centered medical homes, and other systems that introduce various benefit packages for beneficiaries must be implemented. The reimbursement system of medical costs should be introduced to various systems for different types of care, as is the case with part C (Medicare Advantage Program) of America's Medicare system that substitutes part A and part B. Pay for performance must be expanded so that there is not only improvement in quality of care but also medical costs. Moreover, beneficiaries of the NHI system must be aware of the amount of their expenditure through a deductible payment system so that spending can be profiled and monitored. The Moon Jae-in Government has announced its plans to expand the NHI system; however, it is important that a discussion forum is created so that more accurate analysis of the NHI, its environments, and current status of health care system, can take place for reforming NHI.
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Appears in Collections:
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine and Public Health (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Park, Eun-Cheol(박은철) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2306-5398
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