Effects of a Medical Aid program on medical utilization patterns for low-income patients with affective disorder in Seoul

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Shon, Changwoo; Kim, Jungah; You, Myoungsoon

Issue Date
Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Ltd.
Medicine, Vol.101 No.20, p. e29255
Mental illness has been increasing globally and its global burden of disease has reached a significant level, and urban dwellers have more chances of having worse mental health status due to high population density, isolated social networks. In Korea's medical security system, Medical Aid (MA) program and National Health Insurance (NHI), patients covered by MA pay much smaller out-of-pocket payments for outpatient services because of exempt from hospitalization fees. However, as a result of focusing on improving access to medical services for the urban poor due to lower out-of-pocket payment, their healthcare costs have greatly increased, while their health management has thus far been inadequate. In light of the background, this study investigated the differences in patterns of medical utilization among affective disordered patients covered by the MA program and the NHI system respectively. Data used for this study were extracted from customized health information data from the National Health Insurance Service (NHIS). The data source used in this study, customized claims data from the NHIS, is census data, which strengthens the representativeness and reliability of the study results. A total of 6754 inpatients (MA: 3327 and NHI 20%: 3327) diagnosed with the affective disorder were retrieved by Propensity Scores Matching (PSM). The length of stay of MA beneficiaries was found to be longer than that of NHI enrollees. However, the rate of hospital emergency room visits by NHI enrollees was higher than that of MA beneficiaries. Overall, community-based interventions are required to prevent and treat mental health by providing primary medical care in the community, and linking with mental health centers. Such policies will ultimately improve the financial sustainability of medical security systems.
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Graduate School of Public Health (보건대학원)Dept. of Public Health (보건학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_보건학과)
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