Government cancels plan to cap out-of-pocket medical device costs

Focus Taiwan
Date: 07/24/2020
By: Chang Ming-hsuan Matthew Mazzetta

CNA file photo

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Taiwan's government on Friday scrapped a plan to cap patients' out-of-pocket expenses on certain special medical devices, saying it would instead focus on offering price comparisons and using non-legal mechanisms to "persuade" healthcare providers who charge significantly above industry norms.

The plan, which was originally announced on June 8 and was scheduled to take effect on Aug. 1, would have set a maximum price for out-of-pocket copayments for 352 items in eight medical device categories, ranging from pacemakers to intraocular lenses, offered under Taiwan's National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA).

For devices in those categories, the NHIA generally only covers the costs for a basic version, meaning patients currently have to cover the additional amount if they require a product that is more advanced or has additional features.

On June 13, however, Health Minister Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) suspended the plan after a meeting with representatives from the medical sector, who said the policy would prevent high-quality medical devices from entering the market, and ignored the differences in medical quality, techniques and technology used at different hospitals and clinics.    [FULL  STORY]

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