Wed, Jan 13, 2010 - Page 2 News List

DOH plan ends freebies for Chinese professionals

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday unveiled a policy proposal that would end government payment of health insurance premiums for Chinese citizens visiting Taiwan for short periods as professionals.

If the regulation clears the Executive Yuan, visiting Chinese specialists, professionals and academics covered by National Health Insurance (NHI) would be required to pay all of their own premiums in the Level 1 category, DOH officials said.

The Taiwanese government currently pays 40 percent of the NHI premiums for these Chinese professionals.

NHI premiums for Level 1 professionals are calculated at 4.55 percent of their monthly salary, with a salary ceiling of NT$131,700 (US$4,100), said Chu Tong-kuang (曲同光), deputy convener of a DOH task force on insurance premiums.

This means that top-earning professional Chinese expatriates would have to pay NHI premiums of about NT$5,900 per month, Chu said.

Chu said that Chinese professionals who earn less than NT$131,700 per month in Taiwan would be allowed to pay lower premiums if they can prove they earn less than that.

Currently, the premiums of Chinese professionals working in Taiwan are calculated based on a Level 6 status, which means their premium payments amount to NT$659 per person per month.

This policy has been criticized by legislators from the the ruling and opposition parties as being “too accommodating.”

“Since many people complained, we’ve now worked to adjust it so these [Chinese professionals] would have to pay from their own pockets, eliminating the problem of which agencies should pay for them,” Chu said.

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