Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Poll finds public believes people overuse the NHI

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Eighty percent of respondents to a survey conducted by the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) said they or their families did not overuse healthcare services, but close to 70 percent said others did.

The NHIA recently conducted an awareness survey on medical resource overuse, asking people whether they or their families have been repeatedly visiting doctors or procuring more than one prescription for the same ailments or symptoms.

Eighty percent of respondents said they had not overused medical resources, while 20 percent believed they had caused healthcare waste.

When asked whether they thought others overused healthcare services, 67.5 percent of respondents said that they did.

Instances of overuse cited by respondents included receiving the same prescription more than once for the same illness by visiting different practitioners (19.9 percent), ignorance of medicine and a tendency to hoard drugs (19.6 percent) and hoping to “earn back” the National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums they have paid by visiting doctors (18.8 percent).

However, 17.3 percent of respondents believed that the overuse was caused by those who visit more than one medical facility to get a second opinion, while 12.2 percent thought it came from people not finishing their prescriptions, either because they had recovered or because they forgot to take the drugs.

Health officials reminded the public that minor illnesses such as colds do not necessarily require shots or medication, but can be treated with rest and fluids.

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