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Health insurance change could cut revenues by NT$500 million: NHIA

Health insurance change could cut revenues by NT$500 million: NHIA

Taipei, Oct. 14 (CAN) An increase in the minimum stock dividend income level on which "supplemental" health insurance premiums are charged could cost Taiwan's national health insurance system NT$500 million (US$15.4 million) in revenues a year, a health insurance official said Wednesday. Huang San-kuei (???), the director-general of the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA), said at a legislative hearing that if the stock dividend income threshold for the supplemental premium were raised to NT$10,000 from the current NT$5,000, the government would lose NT$500 million in revenues a year. A possible hike in the stock dividend income threshold could affect 1 million people covered by Taiwan's universal health care system, Huang said.
Lawmakers have pressured the government to reduce its revenues after the national health insurance system's reserve fund hit a record high recently. The reserve fund had accumulated NT$200 billion as of the end of July since Jan. 1, 2013, when the supplemental premium took effect, enough to cover four and a half months of spending by the health insurance system. Taiwan's national health insurance has long been financed primarily by a premium collected based on a person's basic salary. With the program facing financial difficulties and complaints that the wealthy were not paying their fair share, a supplemental premium was added in 2013.
It charged 2 percent on non-salary or outside income of at least NT$5,000 from such types of income as professional fees, stock dividends, income from part-time jobs and interest income.
The NHIA has already lifted the threshold at which supplemental premiums on part-time income are collected from NT$5,000 to the minimum wage (NT$20,008 per month). But lawmakers and others now hope that with the reserve fund replenished, the minimum threshold for other types of income can be raised or the premium rate of 2 percent can be lowered. Premier Mao Chi-kuo (???) told lawmakers a day earlier that the Cabinet could study the feasibility of making a change to the system. Huang cautioned on Wednesday, however, that with health care spending by the NHIA increasing at a rate of 3 percent a year, a move to cut revenues from the supplemental premium could result in the national health insurance system once again losing money in 2017. Huang said the Ministry of Health and Welfare, which oversees the NHIA, is responsible for making any adjustments to the supplemental premium system, and he expected the ministry to decide on the issue by the end of this year or early next year. (By Chen Chun-hua and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-28 00:42 GMT+08:00