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Health Insurance premium hike to affect 3.7M

Health Insurance premium hike to affect 3.7M

A rise in premiums for the National Pension Insurance plan to take effect on New Year's Day 2015 is expected to affect some 3.7 million persons. The rate hike, the first in the six-year history of the plan, will raise the average monthly payment for members from NT$778 to NT$878, an increase of NT$100 per month or about 13 percent.

The rate hike comes in response to a 5.81% annual rise in the consumer price index. The additional NT$100 in monthly premiums will help ensure that payouts are balanced by inputs into the plan’s coffers.

Some laborers are unhappy with the planned hike in rates. One unemployed worker in the retail sector surnamed Lu complained that "the Government is stealing money." He said he was laid off a few months ago has gone through almost all of his savings, and now the government wants to raise the National Health Insurance premiums. Similarly, a homemaker surnamed Liao said she struggles constantly with the rising CPI but never expected that even health insurance premiums would be affected by inflation. Somewhat bewildered, she asked, "Why doesn’t my husband's salary reflect the rising CPI?"

The Bureau of Labor Insurance (BLI) explains that the National Pension Law calls for an adjustment in the premium rate whenever the cumulative annual growth rate in the CPI is greater than five percent, with the increase to take effect on New Year's Day. Decisions on rate adjustments are made in September or October each year on the basis of changes in the CPI, and this year’s expected rise of 5.81% in the annual CPI triggered the need for a rate increase, the first one since the national insurance plan was introduced in October 2008.

The BLI adds that payments to the elderly, physically disabled, survivors and funeral benefits and maternity insurance-related costs are calculated on a monthly basis and will also be increased in the future. The BLI notes that all adjustments are reported to and approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.