Thu, Dec 30, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Cap for overseas medical emergencies raised

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

The Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) yesterday increased the reimbursement cap for out-of-pocket expenses for people who receive emergency medical treatment when traveling abroad.

Starting on Saturday, the maximum amount paid by patients for hospitalization to receive treatment at BNHI-contracted hospitals will be lowered by NT$1,000 to NT$28,000, while the cap for hospitalization expenses for the whole year will be lowered by NT$1,000 to NT$47,000, the bureau said.

As a result, about 23,000 hospitalized patients will pay less money out of their pocket, the bureau said.

Meanwhile, the bureau said that in certain cases, people who are insured under the public health plan and incur expenses if they require medical treatment after becoming ill, getting injured or giving birth while traveling abroad, could be reimbursed.

In cases where emergency treatment is received at hospitals abroad, patients may need to first cover the medical expenses out of their own pockets. However, those who present the necessary documents and an application at a BNHI branch office within a certain timeframe may, after review, be reimbursed for their expenses.

Reimbursements of out-of-pocket expenses in such instances would be capped at the average cost per outpatient or emergency ward visit or the average daily cost of hospitalization per person at domestic medical clinics that was paid by the BNHI in the previous quarter, said Tsai Shu-ling (蔡淑鈴), a division director at the bureau.

As such, reimbursement for each outpatient visit at a hospital abroad would capped at NT$1,619, at NT$2,928 for emergency ward visits, NT$7,118 for hospitalization per person per day, NT$3,525 for non-emergency hemodialysis and NT$3,598 for severe acute hemodialysis, Tsai said.

Those whose expenses do not exceed the reimbursement caps will be reimbursed for the actual amount paid.

Tsai said the application must be filed within six months of the day the patient received outpatient treatment, emergency care or was discharged from the hospital, regardless of whether the expenses were incurred at home or abroad.

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