National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) implemented the new copayment system on July 1, 2023. The new system modified the outpatient prescription drugs and emergency care copayments to ensure the implementation of tiered healthcare system and to prompt people to cherish NHI resources. On the first day of the implementation, Director General Chung-Liang Shih of NHIA led an inspection team to Taipei City Hospital (Renai Branch) and MacKay Memorial Hospital to learn about the procedure of medical visits and the public's feelings regarding the new system. In response to the implementation of the new system, all the regional divisions of NHIA have sent employees to different hospitals to help disseminating information regarding the new system and reinforce consultation channels for the public.
Before the implementation, NHIA conducted an online survey this May and the results showed that 66.1% of the people are aware of NHIA implementing a modification of NHI copayment. A cross analysis of the survey results showed that the rate of awareness increases as the age of responders increases and for responders of the age of 60 years or more, 77% of the responders are aware of the new system. In addition, the survey results showed that 70.7% of the people supports the modification for outpatient prescription drugs and 68.9% of the people supports the modification for emergency care. At the beginning of the implementation that started on July 1, some people may only find out about the new system during their medical visits. To help people familiarize with the new system, General Director Shih has instructed to focus on disseminating the information via mass media; all the regional divisions of NHIA are taking initiatives in disseminating the information through local channels and providing assistance to all medical facilities by offering relevant information to the on-site people immediately.
All medical visits will now be charged according to the new system. NHIA would like to remind everyone the following five points regarding the people's rights:
(1) The upper limit of copayments for outpatient prescription drugs in medical centers and regional hospitals is increased to a maximum of NT$300 (NT$100 more than the previous system).
(2) For refillable prescriptions for patients with chronic illnesses, a copayment will be charged according to the standards of regular outpatient prescription drugs when filling the prescription in a hospital for the first time; starting from the second time, the prescription can be filled with no extra charge. However, the copayment remains exempted for filling such prescriptions in a clinic.
(3) As for the near-poor households and individuals with disabilities, the outpatient prescription drug copayment remains to be charged according to the standards of a clinic regardless of the class of the medical facility that they visit.
(4) When going to a large hospital for emergency care, a fixed rate will be charged according to the class of the medical institution the patient visits. The current emergency care copayment in medical centers is NT$750 (increased by NT$200–300), that in regional hospitals is NT$400 (increased by NT$100), and that in district hospitals and clinics remains NT$150. For the near-poor households and individuals with disabilities, the emergency care copayment in medical centers is NT$550, that in regional hospitals is NT$300, and that in district hospitals and clinics is NT$150.
(5) The exemption of copayment remains the same for the eligible beneficiaries according to current laws, that is, beneficiaries who are with major illness or injury, child delivery, or are receiving medical care in mountain regions and offshore islands. The same applies to those who are eligible to exemptions under the subsidy of other governmental agencies, including low-income households, unemployed veterans and survivors of deceased veterans, children under the age of three, police officers, fire-fighters, coast guards, officers of the National Airborne Service Corps, soldiers, Yu Cheng patients, and substitute service draftees etc.
For more information regarding copayments, please visit the "Copayment" section on the official website of the NHIA or call the toll-free number 0800-030-598; if you're using a mobile phone, please call (02) 4128-678. The new copayment system is expected to speed up the implementation of the tiered healthcare system in Taiwan and maximize the medical benefits with limited NHI resources.