Amount spent on se­niors’ health care 3 times the av­er­age

The China Post - - LOCAL -

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.

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