TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Expats say the fees to take polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests at hospitals and clinics are significantly higher for foreigners than Taiwanese.
Foreign residents are reporting that at least three medical institutions in Taiwan are charging higher prices for foreigners than Taiwanese to undergo the PCR test. They say COVID-19 test fees for at least three medical facilities in northern Taiwan are up to 57 percent higher for foreigners than Taiwanese.
An American, who has been living in Taiwan for a number of years, told Taiwan News on condition of anonymity that she visited the Min-Sheng General Hospital Taoyuan on Friday (June 25) to undergo a PCR test as she prepared to board a flight to the U.S. She found the fee for a regular PCR test was NT$5,000 (US$180) for Taiwanese, and NT$7,000 for foreigners, a difference of 33 percent.
She said the price applied to foreigners with an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) and there was no explanation given for the cost difference. She said that she took the test and did not ask the nurses about the higher price because "they didn’t set the policy and I didn’t want to add to their stress."
Price list for COVID test at Landseed Medical Clinic. (Taiwan News photo)
Another expat said there were higher prices for foreigners at Landseed Medical Clinic, at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Hospital. In April, the foreign resident took a photo of a fee card at the clinic in the arrival hall of Terminal 2 showing COVID tests at NT$5,000 for Taiwanese and NT$9,000 for foreigners, a difference of 57 percent.
The foreign national said the numbers shown on Landseed's website showed a PCR testing fee of NT$3,500 for Taiwanese and NT$5,000 for foreigners, for its hospital outside the airport.
A software engineer from Spain pointed out to Taiwan News the MacKay Memorial Hospital is charging Taiwanese NT$5,800 for the standard PCR test, while foreigners must fork over NT$8,000, a difference of 31 percent. In the case of urgent tests, the price gap narrows, with Taiwanese charged NT$7,000 and foreigners paying NT$8,000.
All three foreigners spoke to Taiwan News on condition of anonymity.
When asked to comment on the price differences, a representative from MacKay Memorial Hospital said the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has set a separate price range for foreigners and Taiwanese that hospitals must follow. The representative said they are going to have a meeting to discuss adjusting the prices lower this week and once a decision is made they will submit the new prices to Taipei City's Department of Health.
Min-Sheng General Hospital Taoyuan price chart for COVID-19 testing. (Twitter photo)