Taiwan to discuss new health insurance rules for overseas citizens
Taipei, Feb. 22 (CNA) The government is set to discuss preventing long-term expatriates who have suspended their national health insurance (NHI) from immediately resuming coverage upon returning to Taiwan, according to the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA).
Co-payments for medical services under the NHI system, rules for overseas Taiwanese seeking medical treatment, and the creation of a new highest NHI premium band will be covered at a meeting on Friday, Lee Po-chang (李伯璋), director-general of NHIA said Tuesday.
Lee's statements came after Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said in a recent media interview that the NHIA was looking to raise drug prices and adjust the co-payment system for NHI-covered health care services, such as physical examinations and health checks this year.
Once the new policies take effect, about NT$12 billion in annual revenue is expected to be generated for the national health care system, according to Lee.
Among the most controversial issues is the current NHI regulation allowing Taiwanese who plan to stay overseas for more than six months to suspend their NHI and then temporarily resume coverage by paying a small premium after returning to Taiwan.
Shang Tung-Fu (商東福), the head of the ministry's Department of Social Insurance, said Tuesday that the issue of fairness of health services regarding overseas Taiwanese is complicated and currently, a consensus has been reached on picking one of two proposals.
The first proposal would place a complete ban on overseas Taiwanese suspending NHI coverage, while the second would make an exception for government personnel sent abroad and crew members working on ocean-going vessels.
According to Shang, the NHIA could generate about NT$2.6 billion in annual revenue by implementing the proposals.
The government also plans to raise the highest NHI premium band, which currently stands at NT$182,000, Shang said, adding that it had been 12 years since the last adjustment.
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