As Korea is rapidly graying, the National Health Insurance Corporation (NHIC)'s expenditures on maintaining public health services are increasing. The annual growth rate of insurance benefits is only 11.7 percent for all ages between 2003 and 2008, but is up to 20.0 percent for those people aged 65 and over. In addition, that of out-of-pocket-money is 16.7 percent for the elderly during the same period, while it is 7.6 percent for all ages, implying that the out-of-pocket-money for the elderly keep increasing.
The NHIC is estimated to have spent 31,105 thousand won on the lifetime medical expenses per capita for the elderly assuming that they may probably live up to the average life expectancy, which accounts for 53.2 percent of its overall lifetime medical ones. Additionally, the estimated medical expenses that the elderly directly spent are 23,137 thousand won, 51.3 percent of their lifetime out-of-pocket-money on medical expenses. Together with mortality rates, the per capita estimate that the NHIC expended for survivors aged 65 and over is 54,368 thousand won, 65.7 percent of its overall lifetime medical expenses, whereas their own estimated out-of-pocket-money is 40,800 thousand won, 64.1 percent of their lifetime one.
Taking an increase in expenditures of the NHIC due to the population aging into account, the NHIC should prepare measures to secure stability and sustainability of its budget. On the other hand, the elderly need to find a way to pay their own out-of-pocket-money, and thus this paper suggests introducing senior medical savings account (SMSA) to support their self-help efforts.