Wed, Jun 18, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Visitors to China seek most medical treatment

REIMBURSEMENTS:National Health Insurance data show that China was the top destination where people claimed money back on emergency medical treatmen

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

The growing number of Taiwanese visitors to China in recent years has meant an increasing need for overseas medical care, the National Health Insurance (NHI) Administration said.

Tourists to China accounted for the largest proportion of applications for the NHI’s overseas emergency medical expenses reimbursements last year.

According to agency data, of the 127,527 reimbursement requests it approved last year, about 80 percent — or 101,533 applications — were filed by Taiwanese visitors to China, up from 99,479 requests in 2012.

Reimbursements granted to people who visited China totaled about NT$235 million (US$7.83 million), accounting for nearly 70 percent of the total of NT$323 million allocated by the administration last year, data showed.

Trailing behind China in terms of destinations with the greatest applications is Thailand with 4,295 requests, the US with 4,265 applications, Hong Kong with 4,056 cases and Singapore with 2,215 requests, data showed.

Ranked after China in terms of largest reimbursement amount totals is the US on NT$20.8 million, followed by Thailand on NT$12.4 million, Japan on NT$10.67 million and Hong Kong on NT$7.08 million, the data showed.

The data also showed that the three most common emergency medical ailments suffered by Taiwanese travelers last year were acute upper respiratory infections at 33 percent, acute bronchitis at 7 percent and dental-related diseases at 6 percent.

The agency’s Medical Administration Section director Lin Bao-feng (林寶鳳) said people insured under the NHI program who experienced medical emergencies while traveling can apply for reimbursement as long as they submit their original medical bill, a medical certificate and a copy of their travel documents.

“However, those who are admitted into a hospital in China for more than five days must have the aforementioned documents notarized by a Chinese notary office and verified by the Straits Exchange Foundation before they can submit their reimbursement request,” he added.

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