Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Kidney disease tops nation’s cost list

GOVERNMENT SPENDING:Schizophrenia and delusional disorders made the top 10 due to increased awareness about mental illness, the NHIA deputy director-general said

Staff writer, with CNA

Acute and chronic kidney disease remained Taiwan’s most costly disease last year, with the nation spending NT$50.36 billion (US$1.64 billion) on insurance payments for it, the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) said.

NHIA statistics released on Sunday showed that the disease affected 358,000 people last year. It cost NT$48.38 billion in 2016 and affected 320,000 people.

Hemodialysis alone last year cost NT$43.3 billion, with 87,000 people needing it, the statistics showed.

Salivary gland diseases were the second-most costly last year. They cost NT$44.323 billion and affected 11.49 million people, followed by diabetes, which cost NT$29.69 billion for 1.49 million people.

Acute upper respiratory tract infections came fourth and cost NT$25.37 billion with 13.95 million patients, followed by hypertension (NT$23.77 billion with 2.39 million patients) and gastrointestinal cancer (NT$19.15 billion with 169,000 patients), the statistics showed.

Cerebrovascular disease was the seventh-most costly disease (NT$18.26 billion with 406,000 patients), ischemic heart disease (NT$17.98 billion with 551,000 patients) placed eighth and influenzal bronchopneumonia (NT$14.60 billion with 1.65 million patients) came ninth.

Schizophrenia and delusional disorders were the last on the list of the nation’s top 10 most costly diseases, costing NT$12.70 billion and affecting 134,000 people.

NHIA deputy director-general Tsai Shu-ling (蔡淑鈴) said the top 10 most costly diseases were related to the nation’s aging population.

Medical costs for chronic kidney disease, hypertension, hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease and pneumonia increase as the population ages, Tsai said, adding that other advanced countries also experience this.

Acute renal failure and chronic kidney disease have been the most costly for many years because when hypertension, hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia are not properly controlled, they can lead to kidney failure, she said.

In the past, Taiwanese were not familiar with mental illnesses, but they have gained a better understanding of them and are going for treatment, which is why schizophrenia and delusional disorders have made it to the top 10, Tsai said.

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