Fri, May 05, 2006 - Page 3 News List

Health insurance premiums could rise next year

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

About 50 percent of people will see their monthly health insurance premiums rise if the Cabinet's draft amendments to the National Health Insurance Law (全民健保法) are passed by the legislature.

"This amendment was approved by the Cabinet a few weeks ago but Vice Premier Tsai Ing-wen [蔡英文] has held it back for the past few weeks to make a minor adjustment. It is my understanding that the amendment was eventually submitted to the legislature late on Wednesday but we cannot confirm what the minor adjustment will be," said a high-ranking Government Information Office official who wished to remain anonymous.

According to Cabinet statistics, nearly 50 percent of the public will have to pay more for their health insurance.

Should the amendment become effective as scheduled on Jan. 1 next year, an insured person will not have to file documents to transfer their coverage when changing jobs, and overseas Taiwanese will become ineligible for coverage unless they reside in Taiwan for more than four consecutive months.

The draft stipulates that a new rate for monthly health insurance premiums of 3.14 percent of the insured household's annual income.

In addition, insurance premiums will be based on the total income of an entire household instead of individual income.

For instance, if a household of four earns about NT$800,000 (US$25,157), each person will have to pay NT$523 per month. However, if there is only one person in the household earning the same amount, this person would have to pay NT$2,093 per month.

The minimum monthly premium per person under the new regulation will be NT$300, with the maximum set at NT$3,000.

Under the current system there are no minimum or maximum premium limits.

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