Hong Kong Med J 2006;12:47-55 | Number 1, February 2006
Domestic health expenditure in Hong Kong: 1989/90 to 2001/02
GM Leung, KYK Tin, RYT Yeung, R Rannan-Eliya, ESK Leung, DWS Lam, SV Lo
Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. To estimate the total domestic health expenditure in Hong Kong between fiscal years 1989/90 and 2001/02, with breakdown by financing source, provider, and function over time.
METHODS. The standard health accounting methods as per the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development System of Health Accounts guidelines of 2000 were adopted.
RESULTS. Total domestic health expenditure was $68 620 million in the fiscal year 2001/02. In real terms, expenditure grew at an average rate of 7% while gross domestic product increased by 4% during the same period. This indicates a growing share of health spending relative to gross domestic product, from 3.8% in 1989/90 to 5.5% in 2001/02. This upward trend was largely driven by increased public spending that rose 208% in real terms over the period, compared with 76% for private spending. Out-of-pocket payments by households accounted for about 70% of private spending while employers and insurance accounted for 28%. Private insurance plays an increasingly important role in financing private spending whereas household expenditure has shown a corresponding decrease during the period. Expenditure incurred at providers of ambulatory services and hospitals accounted for more than 70% of total health expenditure during the observed period. Hospitals’ share of total spending increased by 18%, reaching 45% of total expenditure in 2001/02, whilst the share of providers of ambulatory services reduced to 30% in 2001/02. The two largest functional components of total health expenditure were ambulatory care (35-41%) and in-patient curative care (20-27%). Public spending generally financed in-patient curative care and ambulatory services; private spending was concentrated on ambulatory services and medical goods outside the patient care setting.
CONCLUSION. These data provide important information for the public, policymakers, and researchers to assess the performance of the health care system longitudinally, and to evaluate health expenditure-related policies.
Key words: Delivery of health care; Health expenditures; Hong Kong
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