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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e51004. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0051004. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Poverty in the midst of plenty: unmet needs and distribution of health care resources in South Korea.

Author information

1
Public Health Joint Doctoral Program, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA. jjongho77@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The unmet needs for health care have been used as an alternative measurement to monitor equity in health services. We sought to examine contextual influences on unmet needs for health care whereas precedent studies have been focused on individual characteristics on them.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

The current study conducted multilevel logistic regression analysis to assess the effects of individual- and contextual-level predictors in meeting individual health care needs in South Korea. We sampled 7,200 individuals over the age of 19 in the Fourth Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2009. Included in the regression model were individual predictors such as demographic variables, socio-economic status, and self-rated health; the density of beds and physicians in public and private sectors within different regions were used as contextual-level predictors. This study showed the inverse association between unmet needs and regional resources in private sectors after controlling for the effects of individual-level predictors.

CONCLUSION:

Our findings suggest that increasing regional resources in private sectors might produce inefficiency in the health care system and inequity in access to health services, particularly where the competition in private health care sectors was highly stimulated under the fee-for-service reimbursement scheme. Policies for the reallocation of health care resources and for reduction of individual health care costs are needed in Korea.

PMID:
23226447
PMCID:
PMC3511433
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0051004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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