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Premier: Hasten preparations for 2G health insurance


Premier Sean Chen today directed government agencies to speed up preparations for the January 1, 2013 launch of the second-generation National Health Insurance (NHI) program.

After hearing a progress report from the Department of Health (DOH), the premier ordered Executive Yuan officials to conclude all legal and administrative procedures as quickly as possible before the kick-off date can be officially set and announced. The DOH was asked to promulgate relevant regulations soon to give the public ample time to understand the program's details and how it will be executed. The DOH will also help ready the private sector and step up publicity to ensure a smooth implementation process.

As for reorganization matters, the current NHI Supervisory Committee and the NHI Medical Expenditure Negotiation Committee will be merged into a single NHI committee after the 2G program is in place. The new committee's structure and operating procedures have already been formulated. However, since the DOH has yet to be upgraded into the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the premier asked officials to look into the possibility of an earlier merger so that the new committee can follow up on changes to the basic NHI premium rate and supplementary premium.

Premier Chen noted that the 2G program will require the addition of much larger information systems, which are necessary for processing supplementary premiums or for disclosing financial records and care quality of medical institutions. Because the information is pertinent to the health privacy of citizens, the DOH was instructed to strengthen the security of these systems on a regular basis.

Other issues yet to be hammered out include:

(1) Whether to change the criteria for exempting disadvantaged people (citizens under 18, members of lower-middle income households, and the financially disadvantaged as defined by the National Health Insurance Act) from paying supplementary premiums. The proposed criteria is to exempt those whose part-time income is less than the minimum wage.

(2) Specifics about incorporating prisoners into the NHI program and the medical services they receive.

(3) Whether to mandate premium payments from ROC citizens who live abroad long term.

To settle these matters, Premier Chen asked Minister without Portfolio Chang San-cheng to call a prompt meeting of the agencies concerned to examine and discuss the Enforcement Rules of the National Health Insurance Act.

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