Pre-existing conditions and NHI

Continuing the discussion from Is 71000 NT$ per month gross or net salary?:

I have never heard this 1 year waiting time of NHI for pre-existing conditions. Are there anyone who experienced this?

you may ask to National Health Insurance Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare.


Let’s analyze this information. Question: did @MiS talk to someone in English?

Dear @MiS:

There are two kinds of services at certain hospitals. One kind is for common folk, the cost is paid by NHI. You present your card and pay down a «co payment» when you make an appointment, which usually includes medication and tests. For example, at my local hospital a visit to the cardiologist is 350 NTD and I get a 3 month refill prescription. Appointments can be done through phone, computer or app.

The second option is that in certain hospitals they have International Medicine Department. For one whole hour, a specialist of your choice and upon request is all yours, attending to your needs in your own language. Booking requires at least 10.000 NTD.

In either case, waiting time depends on doctor availability. Unless the doctor is in a sabbatical, I do not see how can it be a year. With NHI you can choose any doctor at any participating clinic or hospital.

Now by law as soon as you have ARC, meaning legal residence, you will start having your NHI deducted from your salary, and you will get a nice card with your picture on it. That should happen within 3 months of you working here, otherwise NHI will not be happy. They are very tight about collecting their share.

So unless you will be on probation a whole year, and hence working illegally without ARC, then you cannot use NHI, will not be covered and should pay full treatment out of pocket. Not highly probable, though.

I think there was some miscommunication and they quoted you some weird stuff from their International Medicine Department.

Anyways, you talked to one hospital. And one that puts a lot of airs for the service it gives. We have hundreds here. And for NHI matters, you should ask NHI. Yes, we know that if you call in English no one will answer. It would be more recommended to visit any NHI office, of which there are also hundreds, and try to sort stuff in person. Do not expect replies by mail, especially in English. Follow @tando 's link.

As stated, no one waits a year for NHI, previous conditions do not have anything to do with it, rather work visa/residency issues matter more


I think government contacts will reply within a few weeks or a month, even to inquiry in English. Especially for the simple questions like @Mis wants to know.

As I said previously, I wasn’t asked anything about my pre-existing medical conditions when I enrolled to NHI.

Many foreigners come with doctor’s references from their home countries, but I have never heard on this forum that their hospital visits are not covered by NHI for the first year.

And, as @Icon said, it is very possible that NTUH talked to you about their service for international patients on some private medical insurance without NHI.

If the medicine and treatments you need for your pre-existing condition are not the standard ones covered by NHI, NHI will not cover them no matter how long you wait. In that case, you need a private insurance that covers the treatments, and you should wait for one year.

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I sent @Icon message. I hope it is not the truth.

NHI is mandatory. You pay the premiums as soon as you become eligible, whether or not you want to use its service or not.

There is no pre existing conditions with NHI, perhaps private insurance may have it but not NHI. If you’re on your deathbed with terminal cancer and you are eligible, then you have to pay (though there are reduced or free premium if you have certain qualifying conditions or disabilities).

You become eligible 6 months after you have an ARC or gets household registration.

By the way I have seen one of those “non NHI covered special/international” doctors before… it was not worth the cost, because they basically give you the same treatment/medications the NHI doctors give you. You do have his full attention and he does give you more time to explain your conditions, but any doctors worth his salt should be able to order the necessary tests and know what’s wrong with you without having to spend hours with you. I think private insurance covers those kind of doctors, and the benefit might be that you have your own room and all that rather than sharing a room with 3 other people. Whether or not that’s worth the cost is up to you… but for me NHI is adequate.

Caveat emptor

If you have cancer, not only may your employer find a way to fire you, but even if you still have NHI, the best drugs against cancer are not covered. Certain medications for certain conditions are also not covered. That is why most Taiwanese people have expensive extra insurance for cancer, to cover both extra medication or any kind of expensive treatment, but also time off work.


which one you recommend ? for cancer

You might find some info in these threads, though they might have no info you need.

Your company might have an option of private group insurance for their employees.