Mon, Jun 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

CEPD to propose two versions of healthcare bill

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) is expected to propose a bill by the end of this year on a long-term care insurance system requiring a budget of between NT$25 billion (US$767.4 million) and NT$30 billion a year, Minister without Portfolio Tsai Tsun-hsiung (蔡勳雄) said yesterday.

Two versions of the plan — one providing long-term healthcare insurance to every citizen, the other covering people over the age of 40 — are being mulled.

The difference between the two versions lies in insurance premiums, said Tsai, who is coordinating an interministerial effort to develop the system.

The premiums would be lower if a universal mandatory long-term care program were adopted, the CEPD was quoted as saying.

On the other hand, if the plan provided coverage only for people above the age of 40, the insurance premiums would be higher, it said.

The CEPD will hold a series of hearings and forums around Taiwan to gauge the opinion of local governments and residents, Tsai said.

Once the program takes effect, all insured citizens will be eligible to apply for some type of long-term care, following evaluation by a planned bureau in charge of executing the program and the social welfare authorities, he said. The insured would receive services based on the terms and conditions of their insurance plan, including in-home nursing and organizational care, he added.

At present, the most important task of the government is to build long-term care facilities, create partnerships with long-term care organizations and help train skilled caregivers in preparation for the program, Tsai said.

If the bill is adopted, a bureau responsible for implementing the program would be created, he said.

The bureau would be under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health or the proposed Ministry of Health and Welfare, he said.

At a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said he hoped the program would be written into legislation next year to pave the way for its implementation by 2011.

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