Having Private Cancer Insurance in Korea: Gender Differences


Background: As coverage of public insurance is not sufficient to cover diagnosis or treatment of cancer, having private health insurance is important to prepare for unexpected expenses of cancer. The purpose of this study was to assess factors associated with having private cancer insurance, considering gender among the sociodemographic factors and health behavior. Materials and
Methods: We used data from the 2011 Korea Health Panel, which included 10,871 participants aged 20 years and older. Socio-demographics, health behavior, and perceived cancer risk were the independent variables and having private cancer insurance was the dependent variable. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify factors associated with having private cancer insurance.
Results: The variables relating to middle age, higher education, higher household income, married men, and the perceived cancer risk groups of 1-10% and 11-30% were significantly associated with having private cancer insurance. Additionally, females who had private non-cancer health insurance were positively associated with the dependent variables (OR=1.36; 95% CI=1.17-1.57). Education, smoking status, exercise, and perceived cancer risk possibility were significantly associated with having private cancer insurance only among women. The men lowered the overall percentages of those having private cancer insurance (OR=0.53, 95% CI=0.45-0.63).
Conclusions: We found that there were significant differences between men and women who had private cancer insurance. Women with private cancer insurance are more likely to follow precautionary health behavior than men. This could be interpreted as resulting from masculine ideologies. It is important to make males recognize the seriousness of the cancer risk. In general, household income was highly associated with private cancer insurance. These results reveal an inequity among the buyers of private cancer insurance in terms of economic status level, education level, and health condition.