《TAIPEI TIMES》 Chinese students to be included in NHI
An Executive Yuan representative explains updated tax deductions at a news conference following a Cabinet meeting in Taipei yesterday. Photo: Chung Li-hua, Taipei Time
APPROVED: The Cabinet also approved the Ministry of Finance’s proposal to raise the tax exemption to NT$97,000 and the standard deduction to NT$131,000 per person in 2024
By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter
Chinese students enrolled in Taiwanese institutes of higher education for six months or longer would from Feb. 1 next year be included in the National Health Insurance （NHI） system as other international students are, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said yesterday.
The policy would be implemented in accordance with the Enforcement Rules of the National Health Insurance Act （全民健康保險法施行細則） after the ministry’s proposal was approved at the Cabinet meeting yesterday.
“Healthcare is a universal value and a basic human right. The government should take care of the health of Chinese students who are part of Taiwan’s education system. This also helps prevent the spread of epidemics,” Cabinet spokesperson Lin Tze-luen （林子倫） quoted Premier Chen Chien-jen （陳建仁） as saying.
During the meeting, Chen asked government officials to make the necessary administrative preparations and communicate the policy to Chinese students to facilitate its implementation, Lin said.
There were about 3,000 Chinese students in Taiwan in the last academic year, while about 2,100 are studying in the nation this academic year, Ministry of Education data showed.
Chinese students would be listed in the same category as other international students, with each paying a health insurance fee of NT$826 （US$26.19） per month, Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan （薛瑞元） said in an interview yesterday.
“There are not many Chinese students, so including them in the NHI system would not cause a significant increase the revenue of health insurance premiums. Most Chinese students are young people, who generally have lower usage rate for medical services. Our assessment shows that the system would not incur more expenditure by including Chinese students,” Hsueh said.
The new policy would be enforced in two phases, he said.
The first phase is to begin including Chinese students in the NHI system in February, but students would have to wait six months before joining the system, he said.
The second phase is to waive or shorten the six-month waiting period by proposing an amendment to the National Health Insurance Act （全民健康保險法）, Hsueh said, adding that the waiting period is one of many other issues that the ministry would need to consider when proposing amendments.
Also yesterday, the Cabinet approved the Ministry of Finance’s proposal to raise the tax exemption in the next fiscal year to NT$97,000 from NT$92,000 per person.
The standard deduction is to be increased to NT$131,000 from NT$124,000 per person, and the deduction for those with a spouse would be doubled, the finance ministry said.
The tax relief plan was proposed as the consumer price index had increased 5.5 percent as of the end of last month, exceeding the standard of 3 percent for adjustment of the comprehensive income tax exemption, related deductions and tax brackets, it said.
The special deduction for salary income and for people with physical and mental disabilities would be increased to NT$218,000 from NT$207,000, it added.
An estimated 6.62 million households are to benefit from the plan, which would help increase their disposable income by a total of NT$17.5 billion, the ministry said.
The scheme would be applicable when taxpayers file tax reports in 2025 for their incomes and expenditure accumulated next year.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved a five-year program to subsidize rent paid by college students living in dorms from February next year.
According to the plan, Taiwanese college students living in dorms would be eligible for a basic rent subsidy of NT$5,000 per semester, with those from low-income and lower-middle-income families eligible to receive NT$7,000, the Cabinet said.
Students would have the cost of their dorm rent automatically deducted from the bills they receive, the Cabinet said.
Additional reporting by CNA