Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Foreigners’ newborns to be allowed to join NHI; compensation gap reduced

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Legislative Speaker Tsai Chi-chang bangs his gavel in the Legisative Yuan in Taipei yesterday to mark the passage of an amendment to the National Health Insurance Act that gives insurance coverage to foreign residents’ babies as soon as they are born.

Photo: CNA

Amendments to the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法) yesterday passed a third reading, lifting a restriction on foreigners’ newborns awarded resident certificates who previously had to wait six months before being allowed to join the National Health Insurance (NHI) system.

With the passage of the amendments, foreigners whose newborns are granted resident certificates would be eligible to apply for the National Health System on the day they are born, granting them the same access to the NHI as Republic of China citizens.

The legislation comes on the heels of the passage of the Act Governing Recruitment and Employment of Foreign Professionals (外國專業人才延攬及雇用法) last week, which removed a six-month waiting period for foreigners who have received their resident certificates to join the system.

In addition, to close the potentially large gap between the compensation due from insurance companies to the person held responsible in a major accident and resulting in medical fees covered by the NHI, the amendments grant the NHI administration the right to demand compensation from the responsible party.

The legislation had been in the works since a blast and fire at the Formosa Fun Coast water park in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里) in 2015 killed 15 people and injured 508, which resulted in medical bills totaling NT$800 million (US$26.5 million at the current exchange rate), only NT$50 million of which was covered by the park’s insurance company.

Amendments to the Child and Youth Sexual Exploitation Act (兒童及青少年性剝削防制條例) were also passed, tightening penalties for people who film or photograph minors naked or engaged in sexual acts.

The amendments raised the prison term of perpetrators from between six months and five years to between one and seven years with fines up to NT$1 million.

Those who take explicit photographs or footage of minors by hiring, seducing or introducing minors are to be imprisoned for three to seven years, with a fine of up to NT$3 million.

Those who produce explicit materials through use of drugs, coercion, subterfuge or hypnosis, or who are found guilty of raping a minor would face a minimum jail term of seven years and a fine up to NT$5 million.

Meanwhile, airborne particles arising from volcanic explosions are to be considered a disaster under the Disaster Prevention and Protection Act (災害防救法) under amendments.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Rosalia Wu (吳思瑤) said she filed the motion for volcanoes to be included in the act so that a forecasting system and emergency response to threats posed by volcanic eruptions, including earthquake magma, volcanic gases and volcanic ash, can be legally introduced.

DPP Legislator Liu Chien-kuo (劉建國) said he made the proposal to include airborne particulates to the act, as the fine particulates increase the risks of contracting respiratory diseases and are potentially fatal.

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