With an increase in the minimum wage, monthly health insurance premiums for around 8.18 million people could increase by an average of 20 NT$.
By Chen Chia-yi / Staff Reporter
Advance care planning consultation fees could be covered by the National Health Insurance (NHI) system from next year, Health and Welfare Minister Hsueh Jui-yuan () said yesterday.
Hsueh made the remark during his opening speech at the general assembly and academic seminar of the Taiwan Academy of Palliative Medicine in Taipei.
Advance care planning refers to making decisions about health care preferences before becoming seriously ill, and sometimes involves creating a legal document to ensure those wishes are carried out.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
To ensure that terminally ill patients receive dignified care, whether they are treated at home, in a residential facility or in a hospital, the Ministry of Health and Welfare is considering implementing three strategies, Hsueh said.
First is discussing a plan to increase NHI benefits for home hospice care and hospice medical teams, he said.
Second, the ministry encourages people to sign an advance directive form and a hospice and palliative care consent form, in line with the Patient Right to Autonomy Act () and the Hospice Palliative Medical Care Act () , he said.
If one in ten terminally ill people signed these forms, they would spend one less day in a hospital, which can sometimes save tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses, he added.
However, a consultation service is usually required to sign an advance directive, which costs about NT$2,000 to NT$3,000 (US$62.07 to US$93.11) per hour, Hsueh said, adding that the cost it could hurt people’s willingness to fill out forms, Hsueh said. .
Therefore, the ministry intends to include the fee for eligible people in NHI coverage, but the NHI Committee must first approve it, he said, adding that the ministry would ask the NHI Administration to review the implementation of the idea for it to come into effect. in the next year. .
The third strategy is for hospice and palliative care to be included in the long-term care system through the primary home health care program for people with disabilities, he said.
Hopefully, through the trust built between family doctors and disabled patients at home, patients would be willing to sign the advance directive form and hospice and hospice consent form, he added.
Hsueh said that as there are discussions about legalizing euthanasia, the ministry should review its hospice and palliative care policies and consider whether it has done enough to ensure patients receive adequate health care.
The issue of euthanasia is also a challenge for healthcare professionals as it conflicts with their fundamental medical values of saving lives, he said, adding that the World Medical Association also opposes doctors participating in euthanasia.
In other news, as the Council of Ministers approved a proposal to increase the monthly minimum wage to NT$27,470 next year, health insurance premiums for some people would also increase, the ministry said.
It said its latest estimate showed that the policy would affect the health insurance premiums of about 8.18 million people next year, with an average increase of NT$20 per month per person.
The NHI is expected to receive an increase of NT$5.2 billion from the increase in health insurance premiums, it said.
Additional reporting by Lin Hui-chin
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