Fri, Mar 01, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Medical fees for toddlers slashed

HEALTH Effective today, parents with children under the age of three will not have to pay the usual fee after recieving medical care

By Tsai Ting-I  /  STAFF REPORTER

Effective today, the Ministry of the Interior has announced that the portion of the fee for medical services paid by patients after receiving medical treatment will be waived for children under of three.

Insurance contributions and registration fees for children under three will remain in place.

It is estimated that some 833,600 children will benefit and that their families will save over NT$1.2 billion in the coming year alone. About NT$1,600 in medical bills and NT$2,600 in hospitalization fees are expected to be saved for each child.

The budget for the plan was passed in the last session of the Legislative Yuan.

At a press conference to announce the changes to the general public, Minister of the Interior Yu Cheng-hsien (余政憲) emphasized that children deserve quality medical services and said that the ministry and the Bureau of Children would actively promote the plan to raise public awareness of the policy over the coming months.

Yu explained that since children under the age of three see doctors on average 23.3 times a year, twice as often as adults, the government considers the scheme necessary to reducing the financial burden of parents.

In response to doubts expressed about whether the plan can continue indefinitely, Yu emphasized that the plan is an integral part of government policy and that the ministry would continue to budget for it.

The Taipei City government brought a similar scheme into effect in Taipei last February, though it later canceled it due to a shortage of funds.

The plan is the first part of the 3-3-3 Family Welfare Program, promised by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) during his presidential election campaign.

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