Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/02/2014 -- Taiwan is one of the richest countries in the Asia Pacific region. It has a strong healthcare system and the universal health insurance ensures that all citizens have grown to expect a high level of care. That said, like a lot of public welfare systems, the healthcare system is being constrained by rising costs, and a rapidly growing elderly population is adding to this.
Health remains a contentious issue in Taiwan. In January 2013, the government introduced the Second Generation Health Insurance Programme, which was postponed from July 2012. Under this programme, insurance premiums were reduced slightly from 5.17% of income to 4.91%. However, an extra 2% premium will be levied on income outside regular salaries formerly not liable for consideration, such as interest, professional fees, rent, stock dividends and bonuses.
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Reimbursement of medical devices remains a problem. The Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI), currently running a deficit, has set reimbursement prices low, which industry players, particularly from the USA, complain does not distinguish innovative medical devices and the new technology or benefits they bring to consumers.
In March 2013, it was reported that the Department of Health (DoH) plans to establish international medical centres in the proposed Free Economic Pilot Zones (FEPZ) to attract medical tourists to the country. This follows the Taiwanese government's announcement to establish the FEPZ which it hopes will attract more foreign direct investment in Taiwan.
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