Tue, Jul 03, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Long-term health care set to follow NHI system: DOH

Staff writer, with CNA

The nation’s proposed long-term care insurance system will essentially follow the national health insurance (NHI) system and be paid for in combination by the government, the employer and the insured, a Department of Health (DOH) official said yesterday, in light of concerns over the new system’s funding regime.

With three parties sharing the cost of insurance, there will be less strain on government coffers, said Chu Tong-kuang (曲同光), a deputy convener of the department’s task force on insurance premium, while talking at a public hearing on long-term care insurance. He added that the insurance premium and fees will be reviewed every three years.

Taiwan plans to launch its long-term care insurance system by 2016 with its ageing population in mind. It is estimated the government will need between NT$70 billion (US$2.34 billion) to NT$130 billion to sustain the policy.

Chang Keh-shih (張克士), a representative of the Taiwan Community Hospital Association, said at the hearing that the government should think carefully about following the NHI system because long-term care policy cannot be shut down if the government runs out of money for the scheme.

Chu I-hung (朱益宏), another member of the association, said that should the government decide to hike up premium rates in the future, it would face the same kind of public outcry that followed its announcement about plans to hike NHI premium rates.

Other people at the hearing expressed concern that by including children in the long-term care insurance system, parents would be required to pay premiums for long periods of time until their children were old enough to enjoy the benefits of the system themselves.

Chu explained that long-term care is provided for those who cannot take care of themselves. Since young people may also face the risk of becoming disabled, if they are excluded from the coverage of the system, they will not be provided with care when they needed it, he said.

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