The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a draft bill to change amount of health insurance coverage in order to improve the fairness. By raising premiums for the country's highest earners, the NHI is expected to earn an additional NT$1.7 billion in income.
The upper limit of health insurance coverage, which has not been adjusted for 12 years, will be raised at the earliest in May. To improve fairness, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has announced a draft revision that will raise the insurance coverage amount by 5 tiers. The maximum insured monthly salary of NT$182,000 is raised to NT$219,500. An estimated 137,000 people will be affected, of which 93 percent of them are employed. Their monthly health insurance premium will increase from NT$116 to NT$581.
Shang Tung-fu, Director, Social Insurance Department, MOHW: “This will affect the employees the most. Of course, there may also be doctors in this group. But if he or she is a self-practicing physician, there are not many of them. Those really affected will be highly paid employees. Someone with a monthly salary of more than NT$180,000.”
The Department of Social Insurance stated that domestic basic salary and the lower limit of health insurance coverage had been raised 11 times in the past 12 years, as high as a 46 percent increase, but health insurance classification has not been adjusted. Most members at a meeting of the National Health Insurance Committee in February this year said that in order to strengthen the fairness of financial contribution, high-income earners should bear more responsibility for insurance premiums. An estimated 130,000 people will have their monthly premiums increased by NT$116 to NT$1,939, adding more than NT$1.7 billion in income to the National Health Insurance.
Lin Ya-hui, Executive Director, Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation: “Some of our country's citizens may in fact have a very high income, due to the underground economy or overseas income. But they pay a lower premium. How much should the upper limit of insurance coverage be raised so it's more in line with the present? Using income to redistribute our national health insurance burden can be sent back to the public for discussion again.”
The Taiwan Healthcare Reform Foundation also reminded a past problem that received a lot of criticism for a long time is that many people living overseas have jobs that pay well. Therefore, how to incorporate their income into premium calculations to ensure fairness is also a topic that the government needs to think about.