Changes made to health insurance co-payments

The National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) has made adjustments to the co-payments patients are charged under Taiwan’s single payer health care system to make better use of resources in the country’s medical system.

The changes, expected to take effect in the first half of 2017, will be to co-payments on outpatient visits to major medical centers and regional hospitals, NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) said after a meeting to discuss the adjustments.

The government is hoping to channel patients seeking basic care toward district hospitals and clinics to free up resources at medical centers and regional hospitals — Taiwan’s top medical institutions.

At present, patients seeking care at a medical center pay a co-payment of NT$210 (US$6.57) with a referral from another medical institution and a co-payment of NT$360 without a referral.

Those going to see a doctor at a regional hospital now pay a co-payment of NT$140 with a referral and NT$240 without one.

Under the new system, co-payments for patients with referrals will fall to NT$170 at medical centers and NT$100 at regional hospitals, but co-payments for treatment without a referral will increase to NT$420 at medical centers and remain unchanged at NT$240 at regional hospitals.

Co-payment charges for emergency care at medical centers for patients with minor injuries will go up by NT$100 to NT$550, but the co-payment for emergency care from midnight to 6 a.m. will remain NT$450.

Lee said the NHIA hopes to gradually reduce the primary care services offered at the two types of medical institutions so that they can focus more on critical care services.

These will be positive and effective medical reforms, Lee said, and he pledged that the NHIA would review the impact of the adjustments on a regular basis.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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