Taiwan: National Health Insurance system to face US$2.6bn deficit next year

| 19 Oct 2020

The Ministry of Health and Welfare statistics show that Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) system is expected to face a deficit of NT$77.1bn ($2.66bn) in 2021, with reserve funds adequate to cover only one month of expenses.

Experts are suggesting that users who use the system more should pay more premiums than others who benefit less to sustain the NHI system, Central News Agency reported.

Hung Tzu-jen, Vice Superintendent, Shinkong Wu Ho-su Memorial Hospital, said that people with chronic but stable conditions visit hospitals frequently, despite that fact that consulting a general practitioner would be sufficient. Such habits burden the NHI system.

“Use more, pay more; use less, pay less; and pay nothing for urgent treatment” should be the direction of NHI reform, he suggested.

NHI Medical Administration section director Lee Chun-fu said that although raising premiums and deductibles in the NHI scheme would likely attract strong public opposition, the measures would be necessary.

Taiwan Medical Alliance for Labour Justice and Patient Safety representative Chien Li-chien said that too many resources are being wasted on unnecessary medical care, citing a great number of bed-ridden patients in a vegetative state.

A large portion of the NHI budget is used to sustain the lives of these people, even though they have been unconscious for many years. Such patients should be excluded from the system, he said.

Taiwan's Health Minister Chen Shih-chung has suggested a premium hike to maintain the quality and sustainability of the system.


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