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NHI & waiting question....

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NHI & waiting question....

Postby Big_Fan » 02 Apr 2012, 06:06

My wife was talking to her mother yesterday about the fact that we are contemplating accepting teaching positions with a private school in Taiwan. She asked about healthcare, and when my wife told her Taiwan had socialized medical care, she flipped. Americans are told constantly that Socialized medicine is evil, and results in terrible service, a lack of doctors, and ridiculous waiting periods to get medical assistance.

I wanted to ask people on the ground in Taiwan (preferable those with experience in dealing with American healthcare) what they think.

Do you have lengthy waiting periods for needed procedures? Can you see a doctor in a reasonable time if you are sick?

I am really down on American healthcare and have been for a long time. I maintain that the wait here for emergency services can be just as long or longer. I spent 4 hours in the emergency room with my son when he was 2 years old. Without health insurance, many regular doctors will not see you. My son was running a fever of 105, and the waiting room was backed up because of people without insurance going to the ER to get basic medical care for minor illnesses. What is it like in Taiwan?
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby Big_Fan » 03 Apr 2012, 01:21

Nobody has any comments or thoughts about the quality / expediency of Taiwan healthcare v/s the system in the USA?
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby Confuzius » 03 Apr 2012, 01:43

Its late here, like 1:35 am, you'll prolly get more replies later.

The healthcare here is AWESOME! Your in law is a typical brainwashed 'mercan who thinks socialized medicine=the USSR (its sad how so many people can be so easily brainwashed, people really are sheep..sorry, but its true).

Let me give you one example. (btw..this story is from BEFORE I had health insurance here...when I first got here).

Had a bad skin reaction to something, pretty darn bad, so I needed to find a doctor. Walked into a local clinic, where the Dr was trained in the US. Did I need an appointment even? NO. Waited, hmmm, maybe 20 minutes to see the US trained skin SPECIALIST (no need for an appointment OR a referral) of course he spoke English. Took a look at me, diagnosed the problem on the spot, gave me two weeks of prescription cream.

Whole ordeal was like 45 minutes and cost me the equivalent of 15 USD (including appt and prescription). Was all cleared up from the cream in a few days.

My wife (who now has health insurance) regularly goes to a traditional Chinese dr (herbs, acupuncture, etc) that's covered here too! In the US she spent around 100USD a WEEK...(here, she spends 5...yes..f-i-v-e) includes acupuncture, herb prescription. Once she even had some sort of electroshock massage (not painful). Last week she actually got into a VERY minor scooter accident, had to get her knee (which was all bloody and bruised) taken care of. She was actually on the way to that exact traditional doctor, so she just had that same doctor patch her up. She dressed the wound, made an herbal bandage, POPPED my wife's knee cap back into place (which had been displaced during the accident) no extra charge...same 5USD equivilent (for EVERYTHING).

In the US, you must pay a buttload for insurance, make an appointment..and hell, ifya wanna see a specialist get a referral from another doctor (so you have to see 2 dr's to see 1) make an appointment, get there...wait 1-1.5 hrs to see the doctor for 5 minutes and pays god knows how much depending on your copay...and heaven forbid your prescription isn't covered!

Here, you walk in, take a number and typically you're out within an hour.
"Knowledge alone is transitory, the outcrop subsequent to 'I desire all things'". - A. O. Spare
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby Confuzius » 03 Apr 2012, 01:56

PS

btw (reread your post) my wife and I are both from the US
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby Confuzius » 03 Apr 2012, 02:08

Sorry to triple post (I know, really poor form on my part....like I said its late) but this is an important issue.

People here in TW go to the dr over the SMALLEST things (colds, coughs, etc) because healthcare is so accessible. I'm a typical American, who, unless my limbs are literally detaching themselves from my body or I feel like I am going to die I do not go to the dr. But here, the streets are CRAMMED with little clinics and drs offices on every street. I do not even live in Taipei, but Taichung (considered a bit of a backwater by some expats here) and this is the case here.

I know many Taiwanese citizens who live in the US...but fly out to Taiwan for major medical procedures. Yes, they do it because its actually cheaper to pay for the round trip flight and have the procedure done in TW than just to have it done in the US, but if access or quality of care were either an issue, then they would CLEARLY not fly all the way out here to have those procedures done.

OK, I am done now. Enjoy TW! You will love the healthcare here. its almost worth moving here just for that.
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby kau826 » 13 Apr 2012, 19:21

Well say. These posts have objectively analyzed the current condition in short. :bravo: But sorry to dampen your optimism, I'm worried that things might go worse gradually. The imbalance between NHI revenue and expenditure has grown big. The NHI planned to raise the insurance fee to improve the gap but the legislators insisted not to pass on this demand to the citizens. These legislators ascribed the imbalance mainly to the tendency of easy prescription by the doctors and high drug prices, so some actions have been taken. As it's hard to modify the doctors' prescription habits, the cut of the drug prices started first. Some pharmaceutical companies have moved their bases to other countries (ex. Mainland China) because of this and the original drugs of these companies have been replaced by generic ones. Besides, the NHI offered fixed budget by quarters for the hospitals to confine the expenditure. When the hospitals did more than the budget, they had to bear the possible loss. Therefore, some hospitals would close the outpatient clinics or prevent hospitalization to reduce the extra performance at the end of the quarter. This will definitely affect the quality of medical care here for sure. So I don't know how long this formerly well-recognized national health insurance framework will last.
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby Chris » 13 Apr 2012, 19:48

I've never hard of anyone having to wait long periods here in Taiwan to get the care they need. When I need to see the doctor, I just go to the hospital, register, and wait for my number to be called.... maybe half an hour, maybe an hour and a half, depending. Obviously, emergencies are treated right away.

Taiwan's medical system may not be perfect, but it's still pretty damn good.
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Re: NHI & waiting question....

Postby poopiepoopy » 23 Apr 2012, 19:54

As an American, I have to say the US healthcare system sucks in regards to cost. My wife had to go to the emergency room and was there for two hours and the total bill was $4800 usd. We had insurance but we had to pay a double deductible and 10% of the rest of the bill not cheap. I am self employed and my health insurance premium per month is over 250 usd just for myself. I pay more in a month here in the US than what I paid an entire year in Taiwan.

I had gallbladder surgery in Taiwan, the service was affordable and efficient. I ended up going to the emergency room which cost 30 usd and I didn't wait. Emergency room visits are always 30 usd but I think in some instances you get that back if you have to be admitted for surgery I really don't remember. I didn't ever have to wait besides just filing out paper work. My follow up doctors appoints were easy to schedule and I never waited more than 10 minutes to see the doctor and I didn't pay for those follow ups although I think I may have paid 6 usd on the first follow up. My cousin also had surgery in Taiwan. The facilities in some hospitals look old like the basic rooms still have old style crank beds but you can get a newer bed if you have additional insurance or want to pay an additional fee. Many of the doctors in Taiwan have gone to school in the US. The medical equipment and technology for tests and such is all modern and up to date. My wife has some health issues and never has a problem getting an appointment to see a doctor or to have tests done in Taiwan, I also went to the dentist in Taiwan and my total cost was 6 usd to have my teeth cleaned and then a follow up to get a small filing were a cavity was starting to develop.

Health Insurance is one of the primary reasons my wife and I decided to move back to Taiwan. That and numerous other reasons having to do with the US. The US could learn a lot from Taiwan in regards to NHI. Many Americans are ignorant about socialized medicine and really have very little experience outside of their little US bubble.
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