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Gov't to talk China students' visa status for health coverage

TAIPEI--The Cabinet will discuss whether to change the visa status of Chinese students studying here to qualify them for inclusion in the national health insurance program, the Ministry of Education said yesterday.

Chinese students pursuing further education in Taiwan currently hold visitor visas, but the Cabinet will hold a meeting Oct. 11 to discuss whether to make a change to resident visas. This would entitle them to Alien Residence Certificates, which would in turn qualify themfor the coverage in the country's universal health care program, the ministry said.

The Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area stipulates that non-nationals must have an ARC to qualify for coverage under the country's health care system.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan's top China policy planning body, is currently revising the law before sending it for review at the Legislature, said Department of Higher Education Section Chief Chu Chun-chang.

If the amendment is passed by the Legislature, Chinese students pursuing degrees in Taiwan and staying for a period longer than six months will be covered under the health care program, Chu said.

He continued that each Chinese student will need to pay a monthly premium of NT$749 (US$25.58) for the health care.

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