Standards of health in Taiwan are generally high and compare favourably with those in other countries. Whenever travelling and living abroad, it is important to be educated about health concerns and possible issues. Life Expectancy is 75 years for men, and 81 years for females. Infant Mortality is 5.35 per 1,000 live births. A decreasing and rapidly ageing population is an important issue for the city. By the end of 2009, one in ten people in Taiwan was over 65 years of age.
All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilized. There are also a number of water filters on the market. Those with smaller pores (reverse-osmosis filters) provide the broadest protection, but they are relatively large and are readily plugged by debris. Those with larger pores (microstrainer filters) are ineffective against viruses, although they remove other organisms.
Milk is unpasteurised and should be boiled. Only eat well-cooked meat and fish. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. Many Taiwanese restaurants offer plates of raw, sliced red meat and uncooked seafood that are brought to the table and either barbecued or simmered in a pot of stock. As this constitutes a staple of the Taiwanese diet, any bacteria that may remain doesn't affect the locals, but it can wreak havoc with foreigners. The best policy is to make sure you cook the food in a manner to which you are accustomed.
Recent major health issues include the SARS crisis in 2003, though the island was later declared safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).For concerns about your health when abroad, the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes International Travel and Health which is revised annually and is available free online. Another excellent resource is MD Travel Health. It provides free, complete travel-health recommendations for every country and is updated daily.
Taiwan offers excellent medical practitioners including both Chinese physicians and Western doctors. Westerners will most likely be referred to Western doctors. Many physicians have studied in the U.S. and speak English.
Every enrollee in NHI (the national insurance scheme) has a Health IC smart card. This credit-card-size card holds 32 kilobytes of information including preferred provider and patient profile. The physician puts the card into a reader and is able to view he patients medical history and prescriptions. Doctors usually expect out-of-pocket payment paid immediately following treatment.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Taipei is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in Taiwan. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
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Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in Taiwan: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.