Thu, Aug 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Health department proposes revisions to the NHI program

A FAIRER PROGRAM?The proposed revisions included eliminating a policy allowing citizens living abroad to suspend insurance payments

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Department of Health yesterday proposed revisions to the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) system “to better address the issue of fairness and justice for the economically disadvantaged” before the policy takes effect in January next year, government officials said.

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) presided over a policy meeting to discuss the preparatory work to implement the new NHI system, which will impose a 2 percent supplementary premium on non-payroll incomes to help sustain the cash-strapped system.

Chen said the new NHI system would take effect as planned, and that Minister without Portfolio Simon Chang (張善政) would take charge of coordinating various agencies to settle their differences over the proposed revisions made by the department, Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said after the meeting.

The department proposed several major revisions to the new NHI system, which was passed by the legislature in January last year, said Chu Tong-kuang (曲同光), a deputy convener of the department’s task force on insurance premiums.

Chu said the department suggested a termination of a policy that allows the insured to suspend compulsory insurance and stop paying premiums if they live overseas for at least six consecutive months.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs disagreed and suggested that an exception could be made for public servants deployed overseas, Chu said.

Under the new system, the insured has to pay a 2 percent premium on incomes over NT$2,000 earned from six various sources: bonuses more than four times the individual’s monthly salary, professional practice, share dividends, interest, rent and moonlighting.

The department proposed raising the exemption limit on incomes earned from moonlighting from NT$2,000 to the same level as the minimum wage of NT$17,870, for young people aged under 18, middle-and-low income families and people facing financial difficulties, Chu said.

When the legislature approved the new NHI system, lawmakers attached a resolution to the National Health Insurance Act (全民健康保險法) that the 2 percent premium shall be imposed on cash dividends and stock dividends.

Chu said the department insisted the supplementary premium be applied to cash dividends only, but the agency would continue to solicit opinions on whether and how to follow the legislature’s resolution.

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