Tue, Jul 05, 2016 - Page 4 News List

Chinese ‘cost’ insurance system money, NHI says

PREMIUM PAYMENTS:Foreigners living in Taiwan are often here because of marriage, with many opting to have children, which leads to a need for more medical attention

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

People from China, Hong Kong and Macau living in Taiwan in the past five years have cost the National Health Insurance (NHI) system more than they have paid into it, NHI Administration data showed.

Administration statistics showed that between 2011 and last year, the NHI income from premium payments made by people from China, Hong Kong and Macao was about NT$425 million (US$13.19 million), less than the cost of providing healthcare services for them.

The number of foreigners — excluding Chinese, Hong Kongers and Macanese — included in the NHI system has increased from about 380,000 to 520,000 in the past five years, and while total premium payments from those people was about NT$37 billion, the NHI spending was about NT$11.2 billion.

The total premium payment from Chinese, Hong Kongers and Macanese during the same period was about NT$4.56 billion, but about NT$4.98 billion was spent.

Administration official Yang Yu-mei (楊玉美) yesterday said about 90 percent of Chinese, Hong Kongers and Macanese included in the insurance system are spouses of Taiwanese and a majority of them are aged between 20 and 39, which is often the age when people have children, so the costs are higher for those giving birth than those needing general outpatient services.

She said that current regulations on Chinese, Hong Kongers and Macanese visiting Taiwan are stricter than that on people from other countries, and more than 90 percent of Chinese, Hong Kongers and Macanese in Taiwan are foreign spouses.

Yang said that aside from those giving birth, the number of times Chinese, Hong Kongers and Macanese seek medical treatment funded by the NHI compared with foreigners of other nations is about the same each year.

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