191353 Rationale for an Ideal National Health Insurance Program

Monday, October 27, 2008: 9:10 AM

Ching-Chuan Yeh, MD, MPH , Department of Health, Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan
Health insurance programs may vary, yet they must be based on certain ideal values. Taiwan testified to this principle when its National Health Insurance Program was designed and implemented.

Taiwan implemented its National Health Insurance Program in 1995. As in many other countries that had committed to reforming their national healthcare programs, Taiwan's NHI is based on the core values of universal accessibility, equity of financial burden, and cost containment. Over the past 13 years, Taiwan's NHI has come a long way in the areas of medical care quality, easy accessibility, financial fairness, responsiveness to the public, and affordability. However, there are several challenges that remain to be overcome.

These challenges include: 1) Lingering health inequity, despite sufficient health care resources; 2) The overuse of health services that has accompanied improvements in accessibility; 3) The political unpopularity of raising the premium rate in the face of rapidly rising medical costs, while the public continues to demand an ever-expanding package of benefits; 4) Endless debate over the nature of NHI - is it social security or social welfare?—that has undermined policy stability; and 5) The problem of giving precedence to “purchasing health” over “purchasing services”

The top priority for us, therefore, is to overcome those challenges while preserving what we have accomplished. It remains our mission to make good on our promise to provide quality and omnipresent healthcare to the people, from cradle to grave.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the ideals upon which the National Health Insurance Program in Taiwan is founded. Describe the past performance of National Health Insurance in Taiwan. Discuss the importance of reform to the National Health Insurance Program in Taiwan.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as the Minister of Taiwan Department of Health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.