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Taiwan hopes to introduce long-term care insurance in 2016: minister

2012/05/25 19:59:57

Brussels, May 25 (CNA) Taiwan looks forward to launching a long-term care insurance system in 2016, the country's Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta said in a speech delivered at a think tank in Brussels Thursday.

Chiu introduced Taiwan's acclaimed national health insurance system in his speech at the European Institute for Asian Studies, a European Union-supported think tank.

He also mentioned Taiwan's ongoing efforts to establish a long-term care network which currently focuses on serving disadvantaged people andwill gradually be turned into a nationwide insurance system.

Noting that long-term care is basically a social welfare service, Chiu said Taiwan has been discussing the issue for quite some time and has come to some conclusions.

"We will move toward establishing a long-term care insurance systemand have it integrated into our national health insurance system," Chiu said.

Asked to elaborate on the planned insurance system after his speech, Chiu said the current European debt crisis, which is believed to be partly caused by heavy social welfare spending, has reminded Taiwan that it must be very careful and thoughtful in orchestrating a new social welfare system.

According to his office's preliminary plan, the long-term care insurance system will be financed by the government, employers and the insured, he said.

The proportion of the insurance premium that the insured must pay will not be higher than 10 percent, he noted, adding that the government will pay for the largest part of the premium.

However, the plan has not yet been finalized and relevant laws have also not yet been revised to pave the way for the system's implementation, Chiu said.

"The ideal situation is that legislation will be completed in 2014 for the plan to be implemented in 2016," he said. "All this can not be possible before an internal consensus is formed."

Chiu traveled to Brussels earlier on Thursday from Geneva, Switzerland, where he was attending the 65th World Health Assembly that runs May 21-26.

(By Tsao Yu-fan and Elizabeth Hsu)