Economic Burden of Osteoporotic Fracture of the Elderly in South Korea- A National Survey



Osteoporotic fractures (OFs) in the elderly are common worldwide, and the predicted number of the aging population is increasing the burden of OF on health care systems.


To estimate the economic burden of OF in people older than 65 years in South Korea from a societal perspective.


National Health Insurance claim databases were used to analyze health care utilization and medical costs of OF in the Korean population (49 million). We identified medical claims records with a diagnosis of OF and estimated the costs from 2007 to 2011.


From 2007 to 2011, there were 244,798 patients with at least one medical insurance claim related to OF. Most patients had a single fracture (80%), whereas 20% of all patients had two or more. For fracture sites, vertebral fracture accounted for 75.6% of all fractures, followed by hip and wrist fractures. The societal cost of OF increased annually, from US $88.8 million in 2007 to US $149.3 million in 2011. Among the entire cost, the direct medical cost was US $134.9 million in 2011, which includes the cost of treatment (US $91.2 million) and long-term care (US $48.1 million). The direct nonmedical cost was US $9.9 million in 2011. Costs associated with morbidity and mortality of OF were excluded.


The economic burden associated with OF in elderly is expected to rise with the predicted increase in life expectancy and the number of elderly in South Korea. Therefore, effective management of the disease is necessary to reduce the growth in the economic burden of OF.


Jinhyun Kim Eunhee Lee Sungjae Kim Tae Jin Lee

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