Republic of China (Taiwan)

The current healthcare system in Taiwan, known as National Health Insurance (NHI, or 全民健康保險), was instituted in 1995. NHI is a single-payer compulsory social insurance plan which centralizes the disbursement of healthcare funds. The system promises equal access to healthcare for all citizens, and the population coverage had reached 99% by the end of 2004. NHI is mainly financed through premiums, which are based on the payroll tax, and is supplemented with out-of-pocket payments and direct government funding. In the initial stage, fee-for-service predominated for both public and private providers. Most health providers operate in the private sector and form a competitive market on the health delivery side. However, many healthcare providers took advantage of the system by offering unnecessary services to a larger number of patients and then billing the government. In the face of increasing loss and the need for cost containment, NHI changed the payment system from fee-for-service to a global budget, a kind of prospective payment system, in 2002.

With their adherence to Confucian notions of filial piety, people in Taiwan have always felt a strong moral obligation to care for the elderly, especially for one’s parents. Thus, more than 73% of the 1.86 million people in Taiwan over the age of 65 are personally cared for by their children in their own homes. Residents of Taiwan over the age of 70 years can enjoy free medical care, as well as subsidized public transportation and entertainment costs. General in-home care is provided for senior citizens who live by themselves and have difficulty performing everyday activities, whereas free in-home medical care is provided to the completely indigent elderly. Across the island, there are over 4,000 recreation and daycare centers for people over 65 years of age, providing facilities for meeting and socializing while their children are at work.

The pharmaceutical market in Taiwan was estimated at $5.4 billion in 2013 and is projected to reach $8.4 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 6.4%, according to GlobalData report. The medical device market was worth $2.2 billion in 2013 and is projected to reach $3.1 billion by 2020 at a CAGR of 5.3%, primarily attributed to an increasingly elderly population, and universal healthcare coverage. Government initiatives, such as a reduction in income tax for new pharmaceutical companies that establish themselves in Taiwan, are intended to encourage foreign companies to invest and will further boost the market. Taiwan’s population increased slightly between 2008 and 2013 from 23.0 to 23.4 million, mainly due to a rising life expectancy.

  • Population:

    23.6 million(2017, United Nations)

  • GDP:

    $579.3 billion(2017, International Monetary Fund, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending:

    $36 billion(2016, Brocair estimate, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending as % of GDP:

    6.3%(2016, Ministry of Health and Welfare)

  • Annual Healthcare Spending Per Capita:

    $1,545(2016, Brocair estimate, USD)