Concentration and Persistence of Health Care Costs for the Aged

Seiritsu Ogura and Reiko Suzuki

in Aging Issues in the United States and Japan

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780226620817
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226620831 | DOI:
Concentration and Persistence of Health Care Costs for the Aged

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This chapter describes the distribution of health care expenditures among the elderly in Japan. It examines both regional and interpersonal variations in the hope of finding what determines each. It first outlines the distribution of health care costs among the elderly population, and singles out the factors that characterize the high-cost elderly. It then focuses on the high-cost elderly as represented by long-term inpatients and looks into the effect that long-term hospitalization has on the regional variation in health care costs. Long-term hospitalization or care-oriented services explain the major part (over 80 percent) of high-cost elderly patients in the health care system in Japan, rather than any unforeseeable phenomena such as accidents, fatal diseases, or serious surgical operations. The health care costs associated with long-term hospitalization account for one-third of the total cost of health care for the elderly. There are more long-term hospitalizations in areas in which there are large numbers of beds in health care facilities, as well as in areas where the capacity of special nursing homes, which are formal long-term care service providers for the elderly, is large. This leads to the conclusion that a care-service provision system, which combines health care facilities and special nursing homes for the elderly, exists in areas where there is a large demand for long-term hospitalization.

Keywords: health care expenditures; cost distribution; health care facilities; Japan; long-term hospitalization; nursing homes

Chapter.  11020 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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