Fri, Feb 18, 2005 - Page 4 News List

MOI to help with NHI payments

UNDER-FOURS The plan will help poorer families pay insurance premiums for their infants, which will make them eligible for already free healthcare

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) is planning set aside an annual NT$130 million budget to provide healthcare coverage for children of the age of three or under in middle- and low-income families.

The ministry's Bureau of Children is currently drafting an amendment to the Act Governing Medical Assistance for Children of the Age of Three or Under Medical Assistance (三歲以下兒童醫療補助辦法), which aims to help financially-disadvantaged families pay their young children's National Health Insurance premiums.

"The amendment is still under review, but if passed, would benefit some 24,000 underprivileged children per year," a bureau official said yesterday.

The current law stipulates that as long as a child, who is of the age three or under, has its National Health Insurance premiums paid up, all additional charges incurred by doctor consultation or hospitalization are waived.

According to bureau chief Huang Bi-hsia (黃碧霞), the amendment will be forwarded to the Executive Yuan for approval soon and might be executed as soon as April 4, which is Children's Day.

Many children in middle- or low-income families fail to benefit from the current law since their parents or guardians are unable to afford the premiums. But in these circumstances, any medical expenses have to come out of their guardians' pockets.

Families who wish to qualify for the new subsidy plan must either have expenditure in excess of their income or limited property assets.

To qualify under the first criterion, families with their household registration in Taipei City or Kaohsiung City, must have annual family income of not more than 83 percent of the government's estimated minimum expenditure threshold. Those with family registration elsewhere in Taiwan must have incomes below 66 percent of the threshold.

To qualify under the second criterion a family must either have real estate assets with a total value of less than NT$6.4million, or total savings of less than NT$150,000 per family member.

The original law was enacted in January 2002, prompted by President Chen Shui-bian's (陳水扁) call for free health care for all children under the age of four, when running for the presidency in 2000.

This story has been viewed 3381 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top