Taipei-- The Ministry of Health and Welfare has suggested that proposals on reforms to the annual annuity scheme for unemployed people be listed in the government's middle- and long-term stages of planning for pension reforms.
The ministry presented the idea in a statement released on Sunday, in response to opinions gathered during a national conference on pension reforms that was held at the Presidential Office earlier in the day.
Some participants in the high-profile conference proposed that the annuity payments to the insured under the annual annuity program should be raised to a level that guarantees the insured will be free from poverty in their old age.
In the statement, the ministry explained that the annual annuity scheme was formed to target those who are not employed, including housewives, students aged over 25 years, enlisted military personnel on alternative service and unemployed workers.
For those people, the government pays at least 40 percent of their insurance premiums, the ministry said, noting that the percentage will be raised to 55 percent, 70 percent or even 100 percent for the low-income insured or the insured who are severely physically challenged.
The annuity program is a kind of national insurance, it went on, therefore the payment of insurance premiums is linked to the country's ability to pay the bill.
"To maintain the national insurance fund's sustainability, the government must adjust the level of the insurance premiums upward if it wants to ensure that the insured receive higher benefits," said the ministry. This would mean that the financial burden on the insured in terms of their insurance premium payments will increase.
If the premiums are raised to a level that the insured -- most of whom are living on unfixed incomes -- cannot afford, they may decide not to pay the premiums, leading them to be excluded from national insurance. If so, such people will have no social security whatsoever when they reach old age, the ministry said.
Regarding the complexity of the issue, which involves the insured's payment ability and the government's financial condition, it decided to put the national annuity scheme in its middle- and long-term reform plans, the ministry said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel