The aging of Taiwan’s population is a serious problem. There are now around 2.48 million people aged 65 or older in Taiwan, accounting for more than 10 percent of the total population, yet they are using a third of National Health Insurance (NHI) resources.
Data from the Department of Health shows that NHI resources worth NT$169 billion were spent on people aged 65 or older in 2010, an increase by 88 percent over the course of a decade. The Council for Economic Planning and Development estimates that it will increase by another 6.2 percentage points over the next decade, and that medical fees for the nation’s elderly will increase even more rapidly .
Statistics show that 42 percent of NHI expenses for people aged 65 or older in 2010 were concentrated in urology, osteology, cancer, cerebrovascular diseases and accident-related injuries.
According to data for 2010 from the Ministry of the Interior, the average remaining life span at age 65 was 19.2 years — 17.6 for males and 20.9 for females, an increase of 1.7, 1.2 and 2.1 years respectively when compared to 10 years earlier.
The longer people live, the more medical resources they use. Aside from an estimated huge increase in medical expenses for people aged 65 or older in the next decade, NHI expenditures for people over the age of 80 has already increased by 219 percent over the past decade. In 2010, NHI expenses for the 600,000 people over the age of 80 were already NT$53 billion, accounting for 30 percent of all NHI expenses for the elderly.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)