Koreans' lifetime medical bill averages 100 mil. won
Koreans spend an average of 100 million won ($92,421) in medical expenses during their lifetime, a report showed Monday, with the amount likely to rise due mainly to the nation's fast aging population.
The report by the Korea Health Industry Development Institute showed women spend an average of 114.3 million won on hospital bills during their lifetime, while the figure for men came to 95.89 million won. The report is based on a study of the medical expenses of 200,000 people in 2010.
Women were found to spend more on medical services as females live about six years longer than males on average, the report added.
Medical bills per person showed a downtrend a year after birth, bouncing back to a gradual rise during adulthood and then soaring in the last years of life, the report showed.
Around half the lifetime medical costs were spent in old age, as 47.2 percent of the men's lifetime medical expenses were incurred after the age of 65, while for women in the same age group the figure stood at 52.2 percent, according to the report.
With the nation's rapidly aging population likely to drive up medical costs, as seen in the case of fast-aging Japan where average lifetime health costs are nearly triple that of South Korea, the report called for government measures to prepare for potential financial issues in regard to future health expenses.
As of September 2012, nearly 12 percent of Korea's population is aged 65 or older, and the figure is forecast to rise to 24.3 percent in 2030 and 37.4 percent in 2050, according to Statistics Korea. (Yonhap)