Wed, Jan 11, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Insurance coverage widened to more spouses, children

CNA , TAIPEI

The Chinese spouses and children of foreign workers, including Chinese professionals, who are working in Taiwan are now eligible for national health insurance coverage, an official said yesterday.

Shih Hui-hua (史惠華), a division chief of the Bureau of National Health Insurance, said that Chinese spouses and children of foreign workers and Chinese professionals who hold alien residency certificates can apply now for coverage under the national health insurance program, provided that they have resided in Taiwan for at least four months.

These groups had previously been excluded from health insurance coverage because their status was considered "special," unlike the family members of other foreign workers, or the foreign or Chinese spouses of Taiwanese citizens who are covered under the health insurance program, Shih said. A government tally shows that there are only 20 people who fall into this "special" category.

Employers of foreign professionals whose Chinese spouses and children are now eligible to get national health insurance coverage are advised to submit applications within three days of them becoming eligible.

The applications can be sent to regional health insurance offices.

Meanwhile, the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) will set up a foreign labor service station at CKS International Airport beginning on Monday so that foreign workers will have a last chance to file their grievances and complaints prior to their departure.

CLA officials said that more than a dozen staff will be stationed at the service station, with half of them speaking Thai, Vietnamese, Bahasa Indonesian and Tagalog.

In addition, there will be toll-free phone numbers connecting foreign laborers directly with the staff at the service station.

The service station was proposed after a recent incident involving a Vietnamese laborer who was dissatisfied with being repatriated. He fled the airport after climbing over a 2m-high wall in the airport's restricted area one week ago.

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