Committee proposes two options for raising NHI premiums

Taipei,  The governing committee of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance (NHI) program on Friday submitted two proposals to the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) to raise premiums from the current 4.69 percent to 4.97 percent or 5.47-5.52 percent at the start of next year.

According to the National Health Insurance Committee, increasing premiums is necessary to address the program’s rising deficits, without which it is projected to suffer losses of NT$77.1 billion (US$2.7 billion) next year and see its reserve fund balance sink below one month.

At its meeting on Friday, the committee decided to submit two proposals to the MOHW, both because of internal divisions — 18 members voted for the smaller hike, while 12 supported the larger one — and because of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chou Shu-wan (周淑婉), the committee’s executive secretary.

In Taiwan’s current system, employees at most private and public organizations and their dependents must make 30 percent of total premium contributions, while their employer contributes 60 percent and the government 10 percent.

Using the current 4.69 percent premium rate, an individual making NT$42,000 per month would have a premium of NT$1,969, of which they would contribute NT$591.

A family of four insured under the same person’s salary would pay four times the individual amount, or NT$2,364.

Under the committee’s first proposal of 4.97 percent, the same individual would see their personal contribution rise NT$35 to NT$626 per month, while that of a family of four would rise NT$141 to NT$2,505 per month.

Under the second proposal of 5.47-5.52 percent, that person would have their personal contribution rise NT$98-105 to NT$689-696 per month, while that of a family of four would increase NT$363-418 to NT$2,727-2,782 per month.

Huang Chin-shun (黃金舜), a member of the committee and president of the Federation of Taiwan Pharmacists Associations, said he had supported the smaller hike in order to limit the financial impact on people and businesses during the pandemic.

Chou, however, noted that the smaller premium hike would barely keep the NHI reserve fund balance above the legally mandated one month of total insurance benefit payouts at the end of next year.

A 4.97 percent increase would put the reserve fund at 1.02 months at the end of 2021, while a 5.47-5.52 percent increase would lift it to 2.12-2.14 months, she said.

Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), has yet to state his position on the issue, saying only that “it will be difficult to reach a consensus.”

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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