Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Top model paid full health insurance arrears: bureau

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) yesterday vouched for Taiwan’s top model Lin Chih-lin (林志玲), saying her NT$215,000 in outstanding insurance premiums were paid in full earlier this month.

A report in the Chinese-language Next Magazine said the 35-year-old had failed to pay her NT$5,992 monthly insurance premium since 2007.

BNHI Business Affairs Specialist Yeh Feng-ming (葉逢明) said Lin was originally registered in “category 6” of the classification system, meaning that she was only responsible for 60 percent of the registered insurance subscription capped at NT$131,700, as per Department of Health rules.

Yeh said that given Lin’s high earnings the bureau felt it was unfair that she pay so little and in 2007 it asked her to re-register under category 1 as self-employed and pay 100 percent of her insurance subscriptions.

Yeh said Lin’s agency may have terminated her universal healthcare coverage because she often worked outside the country.

However, the National Insurance Act (全民健保法) stipulates that only those who live abroad for at least six consecutive months can suspend their insurance. In the past three years, Lin was never away from Taiwan for more than three months at a time.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Luo Shu-lei (羅淑蕾) said the bureau favored “pretty girls,” turning a blind eye to Lin’s outstanding payments while being intransigent when it came to ordinary people who may have difficulty paying their premiums.

Chou Guo-chiang (周國強), a 25-year old drink vendor in Taipei, urged the bureau to crack down on violators.

 “It is not fair that a low-salaried worker like me has to help foot the bill. My monthly salary is a tiny fraction of the amount earned by these singers and movie stars, but because of their lawyers and agents, they can dodge the system. It is ironic because they probably don’t even need national healthcare because they are rich enough to pay the full cost,” he said.

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