Health Financing in Taiwan
Country of Operation
Target income level
- Bottom 20%
- Lower-middle income (20-40%)
- Middle-income (40-60%)
- Higher middle-income (60-80%)
- High-income (80-100%)
- Primary care
- Secondary/tertiary care
SummaryTaiwan’s health system reform in 1995 instituted a government-run, mandatory, single payer system. The government created National Health Insurance to expand the breadth of coverage, provide quality, efficient medical services, and contain costs.
Over the past 16 years, the government has successfully provided universal and quality health care to the people of Taiwan at affordable costs. In recent years, the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) has focused on ensuring care for socially and economically disadvantaged people and steadily improving its administrative efficiency and service quality. Today, Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) program is a model of a singlepayer social insurance system.
Key program components
The Department of Health sets policy and oversees the Bureau of National Health Insurance. The benefits package is comprehensive and includes inpatient services, outpatient services, dental services, traditional Chinese medicine, prescription drugs, diagnostics, treatment for the mentally ill, home health care, and some preventive health services.
Beneficiaries pay premia to enroll, calculated on the basis of several variables. Providers are primarily paid via global budgets and fee for service. For some conditions a resource-based relative value scale is used, and TW-DRGs are phasing in. Global budgets apply to dental care, traditional Chinese medicine, clinics, and hospitals. Co-payments are required for most medical services and vary by service type, location of care, and whether the patient has a referral.
Catastrophic diseases, child delivery, preventive health services, and medical services in select geographies do not require co-payments. Low-income families, children under 3 years, and veterans are exempt from co-payment.
Nearly all primary care providers are private, and 90% of them contract with the BNHI. Secondary and tertiary care is split between public and private hospitals. 32% of hospital beds and 15% of hospitals are public. Greater than 98% of all hospitals contract with the BNHI. No referrals are required to receive hospital medical services. Patients can visit any provider.
Taiwan relies on a sophisticated information technology and smart card system to identify patients and track medical records. The smart cards store medical information related to prescriptions, diagnostics, routine treatments, catastrophic illnesses, organ donation, and palliative care.
Revenue Sources: Membership/subscription fees
- Department of HealthGovernment