NHI expenditures to rise at least 4% in 2016: NDC
The National Development Council (NDC, ) yesterday approved a 4.025-percent minimum expenditure increase for National Health Insurance (NHI) in 2016, the highest annual growth rate on record.
Taiwan’s total expenditures under its universal health care scheme will be at least NT$614.3 billion in 2016, up NT$23.8 billion or 4.025 percent from this year, the NDC said Monday.
The 4.025-percent growth rate is the highest since the launch of the NHI in 1995, according to the NDC, which said primary factors for the increase include changes in population structure, the rising cost of medical services and increases in the insured population.
The NDC also approved a 5.8-percent upper limit on NHI’s total expenditures increase in 2016.
The rates were set based on recommendations from the Ministry of Health and Welfare ( ), which manages Taiwan’s comprehensive health care program.
The ministry submitted its budget for NHI’s coming operational year on May 8 and the NDC convened its first review panel on the plan in late May.
Chu Tong- kuang ( ), director of the ministry's Depart- of Social Insurance ( ) , recommended that total expenditures be permitted to increase between 4.025 and 5.8 percent, in consideration of projected challenges.
The lower bound of the rate hike accounts for issues like the rising cost of medical services and Taiwan’s rapid demographic transition, which is driving up the utilization of services and associated costs.
The upper bound accounts for projected government policy changes and their impact, on variables including the cost of pharmaceuticals and the introduction of new health care technologies, Chu said.
In a statement released yesterday, the NDC broached the question of NHI’s financial sustainability.
“In recent years, the financial situation of the health care system has been comparatively good, but in consideration of the accelerated aging of the population structure and increased medical needs, expenses will continue to increase,” the NDC stated.
“Because the rate of NHI revenue growth is limited, the insurance system will face financial pressure in the future. As a result, we ask the Ministry of Health and Welfare to prepare a program for financial sustainability and resource allocation.”