The Ministry of Health and Welfare on Saturday announced adjustments to National Health Insurance (NHI) copayments for outpatient services and emergency-room visits to differentiate levels in the healthcare system.
The policy, to be implemented from April 15, is meant to improve the hospital classification and patient referral systems, which the ministry said are hindered by people’s habit of seeking treatment at major hospitals for mild conditions.
Outpatient service fees at medical centers are to increase from NT$360 to NT$420 for those without a referral, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, patients with referrals will be prioritized and charged less.
An additional NT$100 — increasing the total from NT$450 to NT$550 — will be charged for people seeking emergency-room treatment for conditions classified under levels three (urgent), four (less urgent) and five (not urgent), but fees will remain the same for those under levels one (resuscitation) and two (emergency).
The copayment fee for patients transferred from a clinic or district hospital would be reduced from NT$210 to NT$170 for medical centers, and from NT$140 to NT$100 for regional hospitals.
Following Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung’s (陳時中) policy of preferential treatment for referred patients, the National Health Insurance Administration announced that an online referral information exchange platform would be launched next month, allowing patients with a referral to make an appointment without going to a medical center.
The ministry said that the purpose of the fee adjustment is not to increase revenue, but to improve treatment quality and efficiency at different levels in healthcare facilities.
The administration said it would hold 150 explanatory sessions nationwide, as well as issue flyers, posters and online information to promote the policy.
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