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Premier reaffirms 2G health insurance program will begin Jan. 1

2012/08/29 20:11:51

Taipei, Aug. 29 (CNA) Premier Sean Chen has reaffirmed that the second-generation health insurance program will be implemented at the start of next year as planned, Cabinet spokesman Hu Yu-wei said Wednesday.

In a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Chen also instructed Minister without Portfolio Simon Chang to promote the formation of regulations governing the implementation of the health insurance program as early as possible, Hu said.

Chang was also appointed to deal with all existing disputes over the planned program, which is an update of the existing national health insurance system, he added.

One of the disputes concerns a May 3 resolution by the Legislative Yuan that stock dividends should not be included in calculations of supplementary premium rates because of the "difficulty in collecting."

However, the Department of Health (DOH), which proposed the 2G program, insists that the resolution violates the National Health Insurance Act, which stipulates that supplementary premium payments should be calculated based on income outside regular salaries. This includes cash and stock dividends.

The addition of supplementary premiums will be the biggest change for the public upon the implementation of the updated insurance program next year. A supplementary premium of 2 percent will be charged on bonuses exceeding four months' salary, income from part-time jobs, income from performances, stock and cash dividends, interest revenue and rental income, according to the Bureau of National Health Insurance.

The DOH has also suggested abolishing the insurance suspension mechanism that allows those in the system to stop paying their premiums when they are abroad.

That proposal, however, is opposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Compatriot Affairs Commission.

The Cabinet is scheduled to hold a meeting in early September to review proposed regulations governing the implementation of the program.

(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)