Amount spent on seniors’ health care 3 times the average
The average amount spent on medical expenses in Taiwan for people aged 65 years and over was nearly three times the national average in 2014, according to statistics released by the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA).
Average annual s pending on medical care for senior citizens was NT$73,898 (around US$2,240), far higher than the national average of NT$25,298.1 (about US$766) for the population as a whole, clearly indicating that the higher the age, the more spent per person on health care.
Taiwan has a universal health insurance system, and the figures were based on the amount per person spent by the NHIA to reimburse medical institutions for treatment and medicines provided to patients under the insurance program.
According to the NHIA figures, people in the 51-64 age bracket had average medical expenses of NT$36,274 (about US$1,100), followed by NT$ 14,153 ( about US$430) for people in the 19-50 age group, and NT$7,068.5 (about US$214) for people in the 7-18 age bracket.
The average medical expenses of children up to six years old aver- aged NT$16,537.8 (about US$500).
Because older people are more inclined to suffer chronic diseases, such as high cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes, a high percentage of them made frequent hospital visits for regular prescriptions of such drugs as mevalotin, plendil, cozaar, januvia and galvus to keep their conditions in check.
In addition to the above mentioned drugs, anti-tumor and anti cancer drugs also topped the list of drugs prescribed in large quantities to the elderly in Taiwan.
The average cost of reimbursing the costs of medicine accounted for nearly 30 percent of the medical expenses the NHIA spent on senior citizens, the agency said.
The average amount spent on medicine for this age group, NT$21,512.9 (about US$650), was about three times the national average of NT$ 7,028.3 ( about US$213).
Under the universal health insurance program, residents in Taiwan are covered for inpatient, outpatient and dental services, traditional Chinese medicine treatment, and nearly 20,000 prescription drugs, though an affordable co-payment is required for most types of treatment and medicine prescribed.