Thu, Nov 15, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Cabinet resolved to carry out new NHI

DIFFICULT TASK:The premier said the second-generation National Health Insurance will take effect in January, although the Cabinet has yet to agree on a premium rate

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) yesterday said the Executive Yuan was resolved to implement the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) system, but cautioned that it is “destined to receive no applause along the bumpy path ahead to the reform.”

Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) quoted the directive Chen issued to Cabinet members at a meeting where Department of Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta (邱文達) briefed ministers on the progress of preparations for the policy’s implementation next year.

Chen described the reform plan as a “highly difficult” mission and instructed Cabinet members to coordinate efforts to make it a great success, Cheng said.

The health department recently submitted to the Cabinet three financial scenarios for the NHI system based on a premium rate of 4.91 percent, 5 percent and 5.17 percent.

The Cabinet did not reach a decision on the final rate at the meeting, Cheng said.

The current premium rate on monthly salaries of insured individuals is 5.17 percent.

Under the second-generation NHI system, which was approved by the legislature in January last year to help sustain the cash-strapped program, a 2 percent supplementary premium will be imposed on non-payroll incomes an insured individual earns from six sources.

According to the implementation rules for the new policy recently published by the health department, the program will receive 2 percent from each NT$5,000 or more an insured individual earn from moonlighting, rent, interests, stock dividends, professional practice, as well as job bonuses more than four times the individual’s monthly salary.

The ceiling on non-payroll incomes subject to the extra premium is NT$10 million (US$334,000).

“Disadvantaged groups” will be exempted from the supplementary premium if their moonlighting income is lower than basic wage of NT$18,780, Cheng said.

Disadvantaged groups are defined as people under the age of 18, college students who do not have full-time jobs, mid or low-income families, people with disabilities or people that meet certain economic conditions.

Chu Tong-kuang (曲同光), a deputy convener of a department task force on insurance premiums, said that the department suggested the premium rate be set at 4.91 percent.

With a premium of 4.91 percent and an expected increase of NT$20.6 billion in annual premiums from the imposition of the supplementary system, the system will be kept financially balanced until 2016, Chu said.

The implementation of the second-generation program was scheduled for July this year. The government decided in April to delay implementation to January next year.

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