Oct 24, 2016 General Comments Off on Chinese students to be covered by Taiwan’s health insurance (update)
Chinese students studying in Taiwan will be covered in the National Health Insurance system in line with overseas Chinese and foreign students, according to an agreement reached at a policy coordination meeting held Monday.
In the meeting presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (???), the participants reached an agreement that the legislative caucus of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party will move to revise the National Health Insurance Act along the following principles.
First, based on humanitarian consideration and human rights values, the treatment of Chinese students should be in line with that of foreign and overseas Chinese students by including them into the National Health Insurance system.
Second, due to limited government resources, and the fairness of social insurance, foreign, overseas Chinese and Chinese students should pay the full amount of health insurance premiums themselves. But the rights of those overseas Chinese and foreign students who have come to Taiwan before the law is amended will not be affected.
Third, government agencies should allocate their own budgets if they, based on their policy considerations, want to assist poor students or students from specific countries.
Asked if the planned revision of the law was a bid to extend an olive branch to the other side of the Taiwan Strait, Alex Huang (???), spokesman of the Presidential Office, only said the move was "out of humanitarian considerations."
Meanwhile, an official of the Ministry of Health and Welfare said it is feasible to have Chinese students covered under the insurance program, noting that as these Chinese students are young, they are not expected to be a burden on the program.
Shang Tung-Fu (???), the head of the Department of Social Insurance under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, said that according to the tallies in 2015, the number of foreign and overseas Chinese students totaled 30,946 and they paid a total national health insurance premium of NT$373 million (US$11.78 million), with the national health expenditure on them estimated at around NT$120 million.
Shang said that there were about 7,813 Chinese students in Taiwan in 2015.
Overseas Chinese and foreign students now pay NT$749 per month per person and the government offers additional subsidies for them. If they are to pay the full premium, it will be NT$1,249 per month.
Chinese students in Taiwan welcomed the proposed law revision, saying that once it goes into effect, they will feel more equal to others and it will be more convenient for them to seek medical treatment.
Sha Liying (???), a Chinese student currently studying at Taipei Medical University, said that Chinese students currently get insurance from insurance companies through school and pay about NT$3,000 per semester.
They must take the receipts from medical institutions via schools to apply for insurance reimbursement later.
If they are covered by the national health insurance program, it will be easier for them to seek medical care, Sha said.
"But If we have to pay more than NT$1,000 per month, the burden will be greater than if we are covered by commercial insurance." Sha said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel
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