What to do about Health Insurance during 6-month NHI waiting period?

It’s all a bit of a conundrum. Thanks everyone for the resources, I’ll have to do a bit more research to figure out what’s best for my parents.

Between paying everything out of pocket and getting a commercial health insurance from Cigna, Nanshan, or Cathay, would you recommend paying out of pocket for someone who’s generally healthy? Would you get charged more if you are not covered by insurance (one would in the US)?

In the US over the counter drugs are available but doctor’s prescriptions are required for a lot of drugs. Is it also like that in Taiwan?

I do not know much about commercial health insurance, as Taiwan has universal healthcare I think those commercial health insurance is more about getting better quality care/gap insurance than just health insurance, you really have to ask those companies for specifics.

Yes, technically prescription drugs require prescription, but it seems in practice pharmacies will sell you the drugs at regular price as long as it isn’t something like xanax.

If your script/medicine bag has the word “管” on the upper right corner, then it’s controlled and pharmacies will absolutely not sell you that.

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I tried to purchase Aspirin at various pharmacies. In Germany you can buy it in the same shop you get your groceries. Here it is prescription only, and pharmacies won’t sell it.

Btw. the prescription gives you a ridiculously low dosage. I used a weeks worth prescription in two days to get the desired effect.
Doctor explained that Taiwanese get dizzy from Aspirin and it is usually avoided. I never had a negative effect from it.

It may vary based on pharmacy. I think Taiwan’s NHI structure discourage people from self medicating, hence stuff like aspirin needing prescriptions, and since healthcare is affordable, it’s not really a big issue (and remember, drug cost is included in the cost of the visit, so it can end up being cheaper to go to the doctor than to buy it from a pharmacy).

But prior to being eligible for NHI I was able to get blood pressure meds I needed, just had to pay for it. You may need to go to various pharmacies for this. They won’t mind selling you stuff like blood pressure meds, viagra, statins, and the like, but it may be a bit expensive as it’s not NHI subsidized. But I will say it’s a huge pain in the ass to do it.

Nah it’s just aspirin. Taiwanese just don’t like it. Bizarre to westerners because aspirin is OTC same as panadol and ibuprofen overseas. Antibiotics are getting harder to get here without prescription but you can still find them in seedier pharmacies.

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Not sure why you’d want people to take antibiotics without medical supervision… especially they are often overused. You also don’t want to misuse them or else you’ll have treatment resistant strains of bacteria, not good.

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The medical supervision aspect probably doesn’t make all that much of a difference, when so many doctors here (and elsewhere in Asia) are routinely overprescribing them themselves.


I want to add that during the six month wait for NHI, you can leave Taiwan for up to 30 days and not have to start the whole process again.

We just called to confirm that.

(However, we neglected to ask if the time you were out is added on to the original 6 months…which is what we assume it would be.)

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aspirin never really worked for me, paracetamol 1000mg or ibuprofen 600mg do the trick.

if you leave the country for up to 30 days, simply the clock stops when u exit and starts again when u re-enter. I did that, was out for 2 weeks, so I was able to enrol 2 weeks after the “original” date I could have been eligible.


Dental infection. Three days of amoxicillin will keep a micro infection in check until you can get in to see your preferred dentist.

I think you definitely should see a dentist, not self medicate if you suspect dental infection.

Please try and read my post. Where did I say I wouldn’t see a dentist.

Mulberry bush, round etc.

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I’m curious, if one enters Taiwan using a Taiwanese passport can they leave Taiwan using a US passport for a 2 weeks vacation and then come back and not have the additional 2 weeks added to the 6 months wait?

That sounds like it would likely result in more trouble than it solves. Especially if there is no record of entering with a US passport.

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Whilst it is not mandatory for TW nationals to enter TE on their TW passport, it is mandatory to exit the country with the same passport you used to enter, or lotta fun at immigration.

Actually one can leave on a passport different than one entered on. You can enter on a Taiwan passport and leave on a foreign passport.

Don’t they have a problem with the entry of the foreigner into Taiwan not showing up on their system? That’s surprising.

You show up on the system as a foreigner on visa free entry.

I posted a news from youtube before about a Taiwanese citizen who entered Taiwan on her US passport. She was then refused service at the Household Registration Office as she was not considered a citizen. The woman complained and said here’s my ID card but they informed here she was here as a foreigner and not entitled to services. As for how NHI office would handle this I have no idea.