What health insurance is available in Taiwan?
All who are eligible for National Health Insurance (NHI) must enroll into the program, which provides comprehensive and inexpensive coverage. Eligibility varies slightly depending on your employment status. If you aren’t eligible for NHI then there are also a range of local and international private health insurance options available.
You can check the NHI website for more details.
How do I enroll into the program
If you have an employer in Taiwan then they will enroll you into the program.
If you don’t have an employer, and you are past the six month waiting period (see below), you can apply for your NHI card at your local national health administration bureau. The process is the same as for any resident in Taiwan.
It usually takes around 1 to 2 weeks to receive your NHI card by mail (so make sure your registered address is up to date). You will receive a temporary insurance certificate that can be used in the meantime, until you receive your NHI card.
In Taipei, you should go to the Ministry of Health and Welfare Health Insurance Department Building (衛福部健康保險署臺北業務組-健保大樓辦公室) next to NTU Hospital, a couple minutes walk from Taipei Main Station Exit M8. Enter the building, take a queue number on the 1st floor, and the staff will take care of the rest for you (English service provided). Remember to bring your Gold Card, passport, and a photo.
How are NHI premiums paid
You will receive your NHI premium payment bill by mail. After you have received your first bill, you can also register to pay online or by monthly direct debit with a Taiwanese bank account.
Are my children and family eligible for a health insurance card?
Yes. Once your spouse and/or any minor children receive their residence cards, they can register for their health insurance card as your dependants. They are immediately eligible and have no waiting period once you are enrolled in NHI, be sure to tell your employer about your dependants so they can update your enrollment information.
I’m a freelancer/I don’t have an employer, how do I register with the NHI?
At present, you must reside in Taiwan for a consecutive six-month period (or leave only once for less than 30 days) and apply directly with the NHI. There is currently a legislative push to improve this, lead by the National Development Council.
I’m employed by a local company, do I still need to wait for the six-month period for a health insurance card?
You do not. Once the company registers your employment, you will be issued a health insurance card.
When does the six-month waiting period start and end?
For those who don’t have a Taiwanese employer:
- If you applied for the Gold Card from abroad then the period starts when you enter Taiwan.
- If you applied for the Gold Card in Taiwan (e.g. on a tourist visa or visa-exempt) then the starting period is the “issue date” written on the card.
The waiting period ends after 6 calendar months (on the date). For example, if your waiting period starts on May 15 then you can enroll for NHI on Nov 15.
Am I allowed to leave the country during the six-month period wait?
You are only allowed to leave once for less than 30 days. Note that when you are away from Taiwan, the six-month waiting period will be paused. It will resume once you return to Taiwan.
For example, if you are in Taiwan for 3 months and then leave for 1 month, you will have to wait for 3 more months once you get back to Taiwan (7 months in total).
I need a health insurance during the six-month waiting period - What are the solutions?
We know it’s not ideal, but here some ways our community has solved this problem:
- Find an employer, that will enroll you right after the start of the contract
- Get private health insurance. Other gold card holders might have some recommendations. You can ask the community and mention your nationality.
Is NHI mandatory?
You must enroll when you are eligible. The National Health Insurance program is compulsory.
The National Health Insurance program is a compulsory social insurance program. By law, […] foreign national living in Taiwan with an Alien Resident Certificate (ARC - Gold Card included), regardless of age, gender, or employment status, must enroll in the program when they met the enrollment qualifications.
If you plan to leave Taiwan for more than six months you can either maintain or suspend your NHI. Refer to the NHI website for more information.
What to Do If Going Abroad for More than Six Months
Where can I see a list of NHI clinics close to me?
The NHI mobile app has a map-based search of all NHI facilities. You can download it from the Google Play store and the Apple App Store
How are NHI premiums managed?
NHI premiums are based on your employment status and are calculated as a percentage of your monthly income (similar to a payroll tax in other countries).
(Salary Basis) x (Insurance Premium Rate %) x (Contribution Ratio %)
Salary Basis - Roughly equivalent to your monthly income. Look up your salary basis bracket on the NHI website based on your monthly income. Note that there is a maximum cap at a monthly salary of 175,601.
Insurance Premium Rate % - 4.69% since January 1, 2016
Contribution Ratio % - Depends on your employment status. If you are employed by a normal company in Taiwan then your employee contribution ratio is 30%. If you are self-employed or receive income from a foreign company then your contribution ratio is 100%.
In summary, for most people this works out to roughly:
- 1.41% of your monthly income with a Taiwanese employer
- 4.69% of your monthly income for self-employed / foreign income
- If you have an employer in Taiwan, then they will withhold your NHI premium from your salary payment.
- If you have dependants, then your premium will increase based on the number of dependants.
- Some types of income attract a higher rate (e.g. bonuses and investment income).
- There are income tax deductions available for NHI premium payments.
To calculate your exact NHI premium, refer to the official information (and description of the many ‘special’ cases) which can be found on the NHI website.