Wed, Jan 11, 2017 - Page 8 News List

Making the NHI system sustainable

By Yang Cheming 楊哲銘

Just after the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, a governance platform formed by Taoyuan and Hsinchu cities and Hsinchu and Miaoli counties announced that it had obtained a change in the formula for allocations from the total NHI budget.

The group pointed out that while the regions have the nation’s fastest-growing populations, over the past four years there has been a shortfall of NT$17.2 billion (US$538 million) in NHI payments to hospitals in those areas — an annual average shortfall of NT$4.3 billion.

This shortfall has now been corrected.

The NHI system has for a long time been running a financial deficit. If the insured are not encouraged to use the system sparingly, in the long run the scheme might reach a situation where petty illnesses are covered, but serious ones are not, with people losing more than they gain.

Amendments to the system should take Trump’s ideas into consideration by adopting the concept of health savings accounts that to some extent allow people to plan how to use their own money.

These measures would help make the NHI sustainable.

Yang Cheming is a professor at Taipei Medical University’s School of Healthcare Administration.

Translated by Julian Clegg

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