News eDaily05 Oct 2012

Taiwan:NHI could go bankrupt by 2025 – official

05 Oct 2012

A senior official said that the National Health Insurance (NHI) programme could face bankruptcy by 2025, reported the China Post. Mr James Hsueh, Minister without Portfolio, said that expenses related to the NHI scheme will have doubled by 2025 in comparison to 2010.

Mr Chiu Wen-ta, Chief of the Department of Health (DOH), said that the NHI system may begin to record losses from 2015 or 2017, based on different premium rates and the rate at which expenses increase as a result of demographic changes.

Regardless of Mr Hsueh's warning, going by the department's estimate, the DOH might still reduce the premium rate to 4.91%. Mr Day Guey-ing, Vice Minister of the DOH, said that even with this reduction, the NHI system could obtain the same amount of income from supplementary premium income and the government subsidy.

Mr Day said that if the NHI premium rate were set at 5.17%, the bureau could collect NT$477.1 billion (US$16.3 billion) annually. If the rate were 4.91%, it could collect NT$456.3 billion on an annual basis, a fall of NT$20.8 billion a year.

Mr Huang San-quei, Director-General of the Bureau of National Health Insurance, said that with the DOH raising the threshold on collecting supplementary premiums from NT$2,000 to NT$5,000, the government could expect to collect approximately NT$20 billion a year from supplementary premium. Hence, despite the reduction in premium rate, the NHI system might still break even.

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