Taiwan Medical Insurance
In Taiwan every citizen is covered for healthcare and medical treatment under the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme. Every individual is required to enroll in this insurance scheme, under which premiums are paid as a form of social security. In the event that an individual is unemployed and unable to make their social security payments at tax time, the government has a ‘relief' fund which covers these individuals under the NHI.
Under the NHI scheme all patients will pay a percentage of their medical fees unless the treatment is being provided as preventative care, or the treatment is in relation to a catastrophic disease. In addition to the co-pay waiver on specific types of treatment, the government has enacted legislation that reduces the amount contributed to treatment by specific individuals, namely veterans and low-income families.
All of this combines to form an extremely comprehensive healthcare system, and with the abundance of local medical facilities and highly trained medical staff, Taiwan boasts one of the best healthcare services in the world. Despite this national coverage the health insurance industry in Taiwan is extremely well formed, and individuals covered by the NHI are able to opt out of the national coverage for a more comprehensive plan. In this regard the Taiwanese healthcare system is being cited by many foreigners as exactly the right balance of private and public.
Foreign nationals arriving in Taiwan are also eligible for coverage under the National health insurance scheme if they have a work permit and an alien resident certificate. However, it is important to note that coverage provided under the NHI may not be suitable to many foreign nationals and there are some major emerging concerns with the Taiwanese healthcare system.
Taiwan has an aging population, and the number of elderly citizens in the country is expected to double in the next 20 years. Older people will typically require more healthcare services than those who are young, and this is expected to place a major strain on the Taiwanese healthcare system as it exists today. Already patients are experiencing long waiting times for treatment, and with average consultation costs of around US$ 2 with NHI coverage, there is the concern that many individuals are already abusing the system, leading to a slowdown in the provision of treatment services in the country.
As a consequence of this the Taiwanese government recently proposed premium hikes for the NHI, this announcement was met with large public out-cry as many individuals felt that the premiums were adequate as they are. However, the NHI is facing a crisis, with medical inflation constantly on the rise the existing premium structure is leaving the countries health services with a large deficit as Taiwanese citizens make the most of their low costs and go ‘doctor hunting' and receive ever more care.
At the moment the low premium costs of the Taiwanese NHI is being cited by the government as a catastrophe waiting to happen. With a similar problem to the United Kingdom, Germany and South Korea, Taiwan is rapidly discovering that their population is unwilling to adjust and will not accept a price hike for their care. As a direct result of this many Taiwanese citizens are choosing to turn to private health insurance schemes to ensure that in the future they will have the best medical care available. This also ensures that these individuals are able to receive medical treatment at private hospitals not associated with the NHI, cutting down on waiting times and receiving a higher standard of treatment than is the norm.
We can provide quality health insurance plans to foreign nationals in Taiwan, and Taiwanese nationals around the world. Taiwan expat health insurance plans that we can offer will provide you with the assurance that you will always have the coverage that you need anywhere in the world no matter what happens, giving you access to the best hospitals and doctors available, almost immediately.