Sun, Sep 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

DOH raises threshold for health scheme payments

HEALTH FIGURES:As part of the government’s reforms to the health service, users will now have to contribute on every additional NT$5,000 they earn, not NT$2,000

By Wei Yi-chia and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writter

With a second generation National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme scheduled to commence in January, the lowest threshold at which a 2 percent supplementary premium is to be levied on non-payroll incomes has been scaled up to NT$5,000 from the previous NT$2,000, Department of Health (DOH) Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) said yesterday, adding that the proposal is to be forwarded to the Executive Yuan next week for final approval.

The department proposed several major revisions to the new system, which was passed by the legislature in January last year in a move designed to help keep the cash-strapped healthcare program in operation.

The DOH had previously proposed that under the new system, those insured would have to pay a 2 percent premium on any income over NT$2,000 earned from one of six sources: bonuses more than four times the individual’s monthly salary, professional practice, share dividends, interest on bank accounts, money raised through rent and “moonlighting” income. The proposed threshold of NT$2,000 on a single account has seen people searching for a legal loophole by splitting their savings accounts.

Chiu said yesterday that except for bonuses worth more than four times the individual’s monthly salary, the proposed lower threshold for the remaining five other non-payroll incomes would stand at NT$5,000.

People with less than NT$360,000 in their certificate of deposit (CD) accounts are also to be exempted from paying the additional fees, he said, adding that people with more than NT$360,000 in their CD accounts would have to pay around NT$100 in additional insurance fees annually.

The NHI fund anticipates the receipt of an additional NT$3 billion (US$102 million) from new insurance fee income streams, Chiu said.

According to Chu Tong-kuang (曲同光), a deputy convener of a DOH task force on insurance premiums, any interest on an account which exceeds NT$20,000 would have additional fees deducted directly from the account. If there is less than NT$20,000 in the account, then the National Tax Administration (NTA) would forward that information to the Bureau of National Health Insurance at the end of the year for their records.

In terms of how the 2 percent supplementary premiums would apply to investments in stocks, Chiu said the DOH has decided to include both cash and stock dividends for the calculation basis, regarding each share of stock dividend to be worth NT$10.

Should the stock and cash dividends be issued on the same based day, both would be factored into the computation for the 2 percent supplementary premiums, Chiu said, adding that if the cash dividends exceed the base amount of NT$5,000, the 2 percent supplementary premiums would apply, and that amount would then be deducted directly from the stock returns, Chiu said.

That amount would then be deducted directly from the stock returns, Chiu said.

With the raising of the base amount of income, the number of people affected has been reduced from 17 percent to 15 percent — an equivalent of 460,000 people, Chiu said.

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