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[2020/11/20] A Seminar on “Taiwan Heath Insurance Reform after the Pandemic”

A seminar entitled “The Health Care Reform and the Pandemic – An Intergenerational Dialogue” was held at National Yang-Ming University on October 9th

 

Under the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the sustainable operation of the Taiwan Health Insurance system has attracted special attention. Following the “Health Insurance Limitation Symposium”, a seminar entitled “Health Insurance Reform and the Pandemic – An Intergenerational Dialogue” was held at National Yang-Ming University on October 9th. At this seminar, scholars, experts, medical personnel, and consumer representatives from different generations were invited to discuss the systems, regulations, and financial management of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system and its reform. Nearly 200 participants from younger generations took part. These participants include the Medical Labor Union, the Physician Professional Union, and representatives of various medical institution operators and physician associations. They represented a range of the voices and provided observations from medical personnel who are working at the front-line of our defense against this pandemic.

 

President Kuo pointed out, “Health Insurance reform not only occurs at the system level, but there is also a relationship with generational justice; if Health Insurance maintains the status quo, it might seem to be unfair to the younger generation. This “fairness” issue needs to be addressed as part of Health Insurance reform. There are many teachers and alumni at National Yang-Ming University who work within the National Health Insurance system. As Health Insurance reform begins, we hope to be able to provide platforms for rational communication.”

 

The Deputy Director of the National Health Insurance Department, Tsai, said, with an aging population and a declining birthrate, “helping the elderly” has become a serious issue. From the perspective of financial balance, Taiwan's Health Insurance system has reached a point this year when reform is necessary. According to the available statistics on income and expenditure at the current National Health Insurance rate, the safety reserve will only be 0.33 months next year, which is less than the “one to three months” stipulated in the original statute. Furthermore, the safety reserve will become negative number in the following year. However, as of now, the current statute has not been revised. Therefore the most immediately available and feasible action is to adjust the insurance fee and review the payment coverage of our health insurance. Such revisions must also take into the account the current economic environment and the overall financial burden placed on the Taiwan's population. In turns of increasing the basic fee and improving equality and fairness, we hope to see action taken soon and there is a revision of the current law.

 

     

  Nearly 200 participants discussed National Health Insurance reform from a range of different aspects including systems, regulations, and financial management.

 

The “Taiwan Society of Health Economics” President and National Yang-Ming University Public Health Institute Professor Zhou said, “Taiwan’s medical and health insurance expenditure accounts for the fifth lowest proportion of GDP among OECD countries; however, the average national life surplus is similar to that of neighboring countries such as South Korea, Singapore and Japan. In fact, since Taiwan’s National Health Insurance system was established 25 year ago, the payment rates for healthcare have always been low. However, as the economy grows and the population ages, medical expenditure is increasing relatively, so in order to improve the quality of medical care, it will be necessary to increase the rate.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive of Research Center for Epidemic Prevention of National Yang-Ming University (Deputy Director of Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporations), Dr. Lien, who had just returned from his studies at Harvard University, said that Taiwanese people have a satisfaction rate of nearly 90% regarding the National Health Insurance system. Under these circumstances, it is not easy to bring about reform. Moreover, the system itself is intermingled behind the system with cultural values and other factors. For example, Taiwan has cultural beliefs such as respecting the elderly and helping the poor and sick. Therefore, the payment pattern for elderly patients and major illness is not to the same as some other countries where there are many restrictions related to age. As a result, the total expenditure on Health Insurance rises in proportion as the population ages. However, changing cultural values often requires better communication, and takes time to progress.

 

Group photo of the seminar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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