Changes Made to NHI Fees Portion Borne by Public 健保部分負擔改革 藥品.慢箋入分級醫療

Changes are underway for the national health insurance fees borne by the public. They will be discussed during a National Health Insurance Committee meeting on Feb. 25.

People wait to pick up their prescriptions at a hospital. Many people in Taiwan love visiting hospitals. They seek treatment for all types of ailments, no matter how big or small. The Ministry of Health and Welfare is hoping to put an end to this type of behavior by adjusting the portion of national health insurance fees borne by the public. For example, people will now need to pay for some chronic illness medications that were previously covered by health insurance. As for medical tests, those who exceed their set quota will have to pay more.

Shang Tung-fu, Director, Department of Social Insurance, MOHW: “For emergency treatment, we hope to lower the portion paid by those who really need it. We hope that people will go to outpatient services for mild conditions instead of emergency treatment. If they seek emergency treatment, then they will have to pay more.”

Hung Tzu-jen, Dep. Superintendent, Shin Kong Memorial Hospital: “The National Health Insurance program can save NT$25 billion if every person seeks medical treatment one fewer times.”

The MOHW says the medication fee portion borne by the public is currently based on a quota, and the maximum amount collected is set at NT$200. Test fees are not collected. It hopes to rationalize both types of fees in the future. Civic groups say these changes will create economic barriers for people needing medical treatment.

Lin Ya-hui, CEO, Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation: “Are these punishments in disguise? It will be hard to guarantee that they won't create economic barriers for people who really need medical treatment.”

The MOHW said it is already using cloud medical records to prevent duplicate tests and prescriptions, hoping this will deter people from seeking unnecessary medical treatment. Fees will be waived for people with severe disabilities and the economically disadvantaged. The changes will be discussed during a National Health Insurance Committee meeting on Feb. 25 and the objective is to implement them before the end of the year.