Fri, Sep 08, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Health insurance program encourages premium delinquints to pay arrears

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

There are about 300,000 people whose health insurance premiums are overdue, but some 200,000 of them have continued to exploit the program after submitting their repayment plans, medical sources said yesterday.

Unlike some 100,000 people whose health insurance IC cards were suspended or invalidated because they failed to submit any repayment plans, the 200,000 card holders whose premiums are overdue have continued to use the program after submitting their repayment plans to the Bureau of National Health Insurance, said Cheng Mu (程穆), a bureau secretary.

FINANCIAL WOES

About 2 percent of the nation's health insurance policy holders run overdue premiums, mostly as a result of financial difficulties, Cheng said.

Cheng suggested those with overdue premiums apply to the bureau to delay their payments or seek to have parts of their payments exempted.

CHARITY HELP

These people, mostly poor families who are not so poor that they qualify for free health insurance, could also apply to pay their overdue premiums in installments, Cheng said.

They could also apply for help from charity or public interest organizations, which might repay their overdue premiums under a foster care alternative, Cheng said.

ABSENT-MINDED

A few people have just "forgotten" to pay their premiums because they are too busy, Cheng said.

The bureau suggests that such people go to an ATM to make a payment, Cheng said, adding that "the bureau will pay the transfer service charges."

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