Doctor advocates overseas medical insurance
By Pushin Huang, Special to The China Post
August 11, 2014, 12:01 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Doctor Lu Li-hua (盧立華) suggested yesterday that it is better for citizens to prepare overseas medical insurance in order to avoid high expenditures if one is forced to take a medical services plane back to Taiwan for medical care.
According to Lu, there are around 400 Taiwanese overseas medical rescue cases every year. However, Taiwan only has two planes for medical services, with costs amounting to at least NT$100,000 for each case. Therefore, Lu, the director of the international medical transport department of the Tungs' Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital (童綜合醫院國際醫療轉運中心), recommends citizens buy overseas medical insurance in advance.
A recent example would be of a Taiwanese student who suffered from a cerebral artery rupture that required him to take a medical service plane back to Taiwan at a cost of more than NT$3 million. Lu said the highest recorded cost for the use of a medical service plane was set when a Taiwanese tourist had a car accident in Norway. The entire rescue process cost her NT$7 million. Fortunately, the expenses were covered by a bus company in Norway, Lu added. This, however, is an atypical situation.
In order to help Taiwanese travelers, Tungs' Taichung MetroHarbor Hospital established FORMOSA SOS. The team has thus far completed more than 600 rescue operations, said Lu. He continued by saying that the most thrilling case was to rescue an abducted Taiwanese fishery trader, who was shot nine times, with two of the bullets remaining in his body.
To rescue patients on time, Lu described himself as a "119" in the sky. He carries his passport and the foreign currencies of more than 10 countries all the times and is ready to go abroad whenever the need arises.