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[This article belongs to Volume - 25, Issue - 06]

Unmet healthcare needs during covid-19

Unmet healthcare needs (UHN) are an important indicator in healthcare management and require sustainable healthcare systems. This cross-sectional descriptive study aimed to identify differences in UHN among the elderly Korean population before and during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data (N = 3371) from the 8th Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2019–2020), specifically focusing on adults aged 65 years and older, were analyzed. The overall prevalence of UHN decreased from 8.2% in 2019 to 7.6% in 2020, but there was no statistical significance (p > 0.05). The leading reasons for UHN were cost burden and mild symptoms in 2020 and cost burden in 2019 (p < 0.05). Compared to 2019, the cost burden in 2020 was lower in men than in women (odds ratio [OR] = 0.287, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.113–0.726, p < 0.05), and in the economically active group than in the non-economically active one as to mild symptoms (OR = 0.161, 95% CI: 0.054–0.478, p < 0.05) in multiple logistic regression analyses. In conclusion, these findings imply that sustainable healthcare policies and systems should be tailored to address the targeted population’s healthcare needs, even beyond the COVID-19 era.