The premium rate on monthly salaries for the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) system, scheduled to come into force on Jan. 1, was finally set at 4.91 percent, down from 5.17 percent, when Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) approved the move on Wednesday night.
Under the second-generation NHI system, a 2 percent supplementary premium is being imposed on non-payroll income an insured individual earns from six sources — moonlighting, rent, interest, stock dividends, professional practice, as well as bonuses that are more than four times the individual’s monthly salary.
The starting level for the non-income payments subject to the supplementary premium has been set at NT$5,000 (US$171), while the ceiling is NT$10 million.
Anyone who meets criteria for “disadvantaged people” as defined under rules are exempted from paying the supplementary premium if their income is derived from a single part-time job and does not exceed the basic wage of NT$18,780 per month.
Executive Yuan spokesperson Cheng Li-wun (鄭麗文) said an estimated 13 percent of the insured public, or 3 million people, would have to pay more premium next year, while 87 percent would remain unaffected or pay less.
The Department of Health originally proposed three scenarios for the NHI system based on a premium of 4.91 percent, 5 percent and 5.17 percent.
Cheng said the decision was made in part out of concern that most people are sensitive to tax increases when the country is recovering from a weak economy.
The government expects an extra NT$20.6 billion in annual premiums under the new system.
According to the Bureau of National Health Insurance, the new policy can maintain the cash-strapped NHI system until 2016.