Wed, Jul 09, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Almost one-third of NHI premiums cover 4% of users

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Nearly 30 percent of the National Health Insurance (NHI) program’s premiums last year were used to pay for the treatment of critical illnesses, with hemophilia being the most expensive disease to treat, statistics released by the NHI Administration (NHIA) yesterday showed.

The statistics showed that while 923,000 critically ill people accounted for just 3.9 percent of the total number of people insured under the system, their medical treatments accounted for 28 percent of the nation’s total health expenditures last year.

The cost of treating these patients has been rising, increasing by NT$6.7 billion (US$223 million) to NT$162.5 billion over the past year, the statistics showed.

The data show that hemophilia is the most costly illness to treat, with an average bill of NT$3.3 million per hemophiliac, or about 131 times an average person’s yearly health expenses of NT$25,000.

The next most costly are ventilator-dependent illnesses (NT$727,000 per patient), followed by kidney diseases (NT$586,000), rare disorders (NT$427,000) and cancer (NT$136,000).

The NHIA issued 986,287 “catastrophic illness cards” last year. The majority of the cards — 49 percent — were given to cancer patients, followed by people with chronic mental illness (20.9 percent) and those with autoimmune diseases (9.2 percent).

“These figures exemplified the NHI program’s core principles of promoting the spirit of mutual support and attending to the health needs of disadvantaged people,” the NHIA said.

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