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Nearly 40% of high-income earners get discount on NHI

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) yesterday announced statistics revealing that nearly 40 percent of people in high-income brackets still receive discounts on their national health insurance (NHI) premium.

The National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) yesterday held a conference to discuss all NHI data as a complete review of the second-generation NHI program.

Tamkang University Department of Accounting professor Han Hsing-wen said that under the current NHI program, people pay their NHI premium based on the jobs they hold, which are divided into six categories.

Based on the NHI program, Han said, since the premium and discounts for these six categories are different, people could be requested to pay various amounts even though their annual incomes are the same.

Han said that the amount of NHI premium a person pays does not necessarily reflect their financial situation.

“If a person has multiple incomes, he or she is likely to choose the option most beneficial to them when it comes to paying the NHI premium,” said Han.

According to Han, after analyzing information from over 12 million people, she discovered that about 40 percent pay much less in terms of their NHI premium than would be expected from their income.

“The NHI's design flaw reflects on the supplementary premium, the new charge that was launched along with the second-generation NHI in 2013,” said Han.

According to Han, people who are categorized as fishermen or veterans are considered a minority compared with people in other categories in the NHI program, and they receive discounts on their NHI premium.

However, said Han, based on data from the NHI supplementary premium, many of those receiving discounts on the NHI premium actually obtain additional incomes from sources such as property rental, high bonuses and stock dividends that equal the incomes of many office workers.

Han said that the NHI should consider adjusting the current NHI program in order to avoid people being able to decide on their own categorization so freely.

NHI Premium App to Be Launched This Year

NHIA Business Affairs Specialist Yeh Feng-ming (葉逢明) yesterday announced that a mobile application will be launched this year that will allow people to make payments through their smartphones.

According to Yeh, the new mobile application will greatly save on paper usage as well as saving approximately NT$50 million annually in administration costs.

Yeh said that with the new mobile application people can either make NHI premium payments at convenience stores or through their smartphones.

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