TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan’s lawmakers amended the National Health Insurance Act on Tuesday to allow newborn babies of foreign residents in the country to be covered by the compulsory health insurance plan upon birth.
The newly revised health insurance rule reverses the current situation in which foreign parents with resident status in Taiwan can only obtain health insurance for babies six months after they are born.
The revision will take affect as soon as it goes through the routine step of being officially announced by the Presidential Office.
The amendment was considered because of concerns that the health of infants of legal foreign residents could suffer without coverage under the national insurance plan during the six-month vacuum.
Article 9 of the National Health Insurance Act stipulates that people with an alien resident certificate in Taiwan can get national health insurance if they have been residing in the country for at least six month or they have an employment contract.
Tuesday’s revision to Article 9 adds that newborns of foreign nationals with alien resident certificates will be allowed to join the national health insurance plan upon birth, as is the case for newborns of Taiwanese citizens.
Before the amendment cleared the Legislative Yuan on Tuesday, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said the new law will cover newborn babies of both white collar and blue collar foreign residents in Taiwan as long as they have a legal resident certificate.
The new provision will not cover new babies of Chinese who are working in Taiwan, however, as Chinese employees in Taiwan hold an entry permit instead of a resident certificate, MOHW section chief Huang Tai-ping (黃泰平) told the press recently.
Without an alien resident certificate, neither Chinese parents nor their children can be covered by national health insurance, Huang said. •
By Wang Cheng-chung and Frances Huang