Taiwan Health Care Issues
for English Teachers
Information about health insurance, health card, hospitals
Health and Medical Care in Taiwan
Thanks to the Taiwanese government, as an English teacher in Taiwan, you will almost definitely be given National Health Insurance (NHI).
NHI is a single-payer compulsory payment plan, which basically means that everybody must pay for insurance, but because everyone is part of the same pool, it becomes cheaper. This is the same kind of system as Canada, Australia and the UK.
Taiwan's health care is cheap and offers good coverage. It has existed since 1995, and covers over 99% of the population. Once you take your health exam and your school registers you with the Bureau of Health, you will be given a pale blue Taiwan Health Card with a silly picture of yourself on it.
Costs and Coverage of Health Care in Taiwan
If you have a job at a private cram school, which most will, the cost of health insurance will be split between you, your employer and the Taiwanese government. You will pay 30%, your employer will pay 60%, and the government will make up the final 10%. The costs for working at a private business, such as a cram school, will vary based on your salary but will most like be around NT$500-$1000 for an individual, more if you have dependents.
Once this is paid, however, your visits to the doctor will not be free, but will be immensely cheaper than they would be without the insurance. Co-pays will be very inexpensive - think paying less than NT$100 for a routine trip to see the hospital for a cold, headache or basic illness.
Co-pays will also have to be made for medicines. While Taiwan may not have all of the fanciest new drugs that are available in western markets, some form of whatever you need will most likely be available for a good price. Generally co-pays for medicines are about 20%, so if the total cost of the drugs is NT$500, you'll pay about NT$100.
Taiwan's health care system covers just about everything - eye exams, teeth cleanings, complicated surgeries and even psychological care. If you have particular needs or requests that you're unsure about, be sure to contact the Taiwan Health Care office to find out whether or not you will be covered.
Birth control and Abortion in Taiwan
Contraceptives are widely available in Taiwan. Condoms are sold at every convenience store and carry basically no stigma, especially if you are a foreigner. Still, if you have a preferred brand you might want to bring your own as the local versions can vary a bit.
Birth control is also widely available in Taiwan and can be picked up at nearly any pharmacy. It will be cheap. A month's supply will run you less than NT$100. If you have a specific drug you want, you can first scribble down the generic name of the brand you use and bring it in. The Taiwanese version might have American brand names but most likely not the European ones.
Abortion is legal in Taiwan, and often eerily referred to as the birth control method of choice of local women.
I hope this page about Taiwan's health care system was helpful.
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