A report circulating on the Internet that foreigners can come to Taiwan for National Health Insurance-covered (NHI) HIV/AIDS treatment after living in the nation for two years is not true, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said yesterday.
The report said that Taiwan would indiscriminately allow foreigners who join the NHI to receive government-covered HIV/AIDS treatment. It said that would mean the government would be spending between NT$162,000 and NT$300,000 on each patient, creating an extra burden on the insurance system, the report said.
CDC Deputy Director-General Philip Lo (羅一鈞) said the report is not true, as there are conditions that foreigners must meet before they can receive HIV/AIDS treatment covered by the NHI system.
These include having a legal permit to stay in Taiwan, having joined the NHI after staying in Taiwan for six months, having a hospital-reported case of HIV/AIDS and having a medical record of self-paid HIV/AIDS treatment for two years, which costs about NT$400,000, he said.
Lo said these requirements might be even more difficult to meet than other diseases, and that instead of having to wait for two years and paying about NT$400,000, it might be cheaper for them to seek treatment in other countries.
For example, the UK and Japan do not have a required waiting period for foreigners to receive HIV/AIDS treatment covered by national health insurance, and in Thailand, generic drugs for treating HIV/AIDS are about NT$1,000 per month, much cheaper than the prices in Taiwan, he said.
The CDC said foreigners that meet the required conditions will receive government-covered HIV/AIDS treatment.
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