Sun, Feb 03, 2008 - Page 2 News List

Bureau tightens rules on medical expense in China

TWO-STEP PROCESS People seeking reimbursements for emergency care in China are required to have their receipts and documents certified in Taiwan and China

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Travelers heading to China during the Lunar New Year holiday must have their emergency medical service receipts and documents certified in China if they would like to be covered by the national health insurance program, the Bureau of the National Heath Insurance said yesterday.

When they return to Taiwan, they must take the receipts to the Straits Exchange Foundation for certification and file for reimbursements from the bureau within six months from their date of return.

Shen Mao-ting (沈茂庭), manager of the bureau's medical affairs department, said yesterday that the bureau expends about NT$250 million (US$7.8 million) annually in overseas medical expenses, with roughly 70 percent of those payments going to China.

Shen said that the two-step certification requirement was added for those seeking emergency medical attention in China after the bureau found that some applicants had either forged the medical documents or inflated the expenses.

Documents that need to be certified include the original copy of the receipts for medical expenditures and official medical diagnoses.

Applicants must also bring photocopies of their passport, including the pages showing records of their entry and exit.

They must fill in an application form, which can be downloaded at the bureau's Web site at www.nhi.gov.tw.

Payment for health services is capped at NT$2,790 per visit for overseas emergency care service, NT$6,433 per day for hospitalization, NT$1,543 per visit for clinical service, and NT$4,100 for dialysis, the bureau said.

The bureau also urged the public to start storing up on personal medications as many of the nation's public hospitals will be closed during the Lunar New Year holiday.

They include the National University Hospital, the Veterans General Hospitals in Taipei, Tai-chung and Kaohsiung, as well as the National Cheng Kung University Hospital in Tainan.

Some of these hospitals will start offering half-day service next Sunday.

Several private hospitals will also maintain half-day service throughout the holiday, including Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Cathay General Hospital, Shin Kong Wu Ho Su Memorial Hospital and the Buddhist Tzu-chi General Hospital in Hualien.

A majority of the hospitals will resume normal service on Feb. 11.

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