Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 2 News List

NHI claims published

COMMUNITY SERVICE:Last year, there were more than 870,000 card-holding patients who had serious illnesses or injuries, the NHI bureau reported

By Shelley Huang  /  Staff Reporter

Of every NT$100 paid by contributors in National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums, NT$27 goes toward helping patients with major illnesses or injuries to pay medical bills, with cancer and chronic illnesses comprising the majority of those claims, the Department of Health (DOH) said yesterday.

Unveiling the NHI’s medical benefits claims for last year, the Bureau of National Health Insurance said 27 percent of insurance premiums paid by the public were used to cover compensation claims for patients with major illnesses or injuries, such as cancer patients requiring long-term treatment and patients with chronic uremia who require regular dialysis.

Other major uses of the NHI fund included patient care for those with chronic cardiac, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, neurological and skeletal disorders, chronic psychiatric disorders, burns over more than 20 percent of the body surface and third degree burns causing the loss of a body part as well as those -suffering major trauma.

Lin Are-ming (林阿明), chief of the bureau’s medical affairs division, said that on average each person who benefits from NHI coverage claims NT$21,000 per year.

Those with major illnesses or injuries who applied for a major illness or injury card totaled more than 870,000 and used about NT$134 billion (US$4.5 billion) in NHI resources last year.

This was a rise of about 4.8 percent in patient numbers from 2009, while the total amount for medical benefit claims was about 3.5 percent higher than the previous year, the bureau said.

Patients in this group account for about 3.6 percent of the population and use about a quarter of all NHI resources, Lin said.

Lin said that perhaps it is not a coincidence that the majority of patients with a major illness or injuries card are cancer patients, numbering about 400,000 — 45.6 percent — as cancer affects a large proportion of the population and continues to rank at the top of the list of causes of death in Taiwan.

Lin said that the contributions of about 182 people under the NHI plan were needed to cover the medical expenses of a single patient treated for hemophilia and 40 contributors for every person needing regular dialysis.

“Shared responsibility is a core value of the system,” Lin said.

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