Has the long-term care insurance resolved disparities in mortality for older Koreans? examination of service type and income level

Minsung Sohn, Patricia O'Campo, Carles Muntaner, Haejoo Chung, Mankyu Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The long-term care insurance (LTCI) has been implemented to help the government take responsibility for social prevention and protection measures to maintain and improve older adults' health and well-being since 2008. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of LTCI on mortality of elders in South Korea. The data used from the national representative Elderly Cohort Database for 2009 to 2013. We analyzed longitudinal panel data from 61,235 persons aged 65 years and older. We generated Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazard models by use and type of long-term care services (LTCSs) (e.g., non-user, facility, and in-home benefits) and income level. The covariate-adjusted approximate mortality rates by LTCSs type for facility and in-home benefits group compared to non-LTCS users were 0.761 and 0.803, respectively. The approximate mortality rates were higher in the middle low- (Hazard Ratio [HR] = 1.131, p < .001), low- (HR = 1.125, p < .001), and middle- (HR = 1.122, p < .001) than the high income group. In particular, the disparities in mortality by income gap in in-home care users of LTCS was greater than that of facility care users in Korea. Consequently, these findings point to the need for program improvements to the quality and quantity of the in-home LTCSs for elderly Koreans. Ensuring a “continuum of care” through education for service providers and stronger relationships with the recipients’ families could improve overall quality. There is a particular need to devote more attention to the needs of low-income elderly who currently lack sufficient the health coverage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112812
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd


  • Elderly
  • Facility-based service
  • Home care
  • Long term care insurance
  • Mortality
  • Quality of care
  • Survival analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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