Hi:) sofy here!
How are you doing? Well we just finished our midterm exams! so now is the right time to write :)!
I decided to write about health in Taiwan. I know that being an international student where ever you are is just something hard. And getting sick sucks even if t is in your own country or where ever it is being sick is just not nice. How ever being sick in another country is just one of the most horrible experiences ever! Is one of those times that you just feel like you want to go home. So I’ll talk a bit in how the health system works an all those things that you will want to know. It is important that you are aware of this kind of things if you ever get sick here you will have an idea of how to handle it!
So for small things there is nursery room inside the campus in the first flour of administration building (same that the OIA offices). But this is just for small things I don’t think you can go there for something serious but is good to know that it is there. so for other things like getting a cold or actually being sick you have to go outside of campus.
First when you come here during your first six months you will have a private insurance. It could be the one you buy at school or one that you get in your own country. I bought mine in school with all international students. That insurance is private. basically how it works is that you go to the doctor and then take to OIA office the receipt and the hospital certificate .and they will deal with the insurance company to refund you. For each time the maximum amount you can get back is 1000 NT. I never used it so I don’t know the details of this, but you can have the general idea.
After you had been living more than 6 months here you need to apply for the National health insurance. I think we pay around 4000 NTD every semester (maybe a bit more). Once you get it you will have your Insurance card.
Really useful card, it will have your picture and ARC number. So with that card you can have access to a lot of health services. Every health center that has the National insurance symbol will accept the insurance card. So with the card you just pay part of the bill, your insurance will cover most of it. This will also cover your medicine fee.
So now that you know how the insurance work. Where to go if you are sick? that depends of what you have and how you will like to treat it. If you have just a cold there are some place in zhixue street (the street in the back of our school).I have never been there myself but I went with one of my friends twice. basically you will pay 50NTD for seeing the doctor. He will prescribe you something and you will get it in the pharmacy that is across the street! and again you pay really low for the medicines. I heard that this is really effective for small things. I think that works if you just have a cold or something small and want to get rid of it. If you have something more than a cold and you think it is a good idea to see a good doctor and get good health care so then I would suggest Tzu Chi Hospital.
I had been there several times. Is easy to get an appointment. All the doctors I had seen speak really good English so you can be in peace at least you will understand what is going on. So Tzu chi hospital is near to Hualien train station, from hualien station back door you can walk to the hospital, it will take 10 minutes no more. Once you are there, you can ask for the appointment in counter 7 (that is the counter for us, foreigners) or you can use the machine to do it yourself (I suck with technology so I usually just go to counter 7).
So here you will have a good attention. One good thing about this place is that if you need more exams, because it is a hospital you can get them there. So is convenient. It is much expensive than just going to the medical care in Zhi xue. Here you pay an average of 500 NTD.In the other hand here you see an specialist, you should have in mind that this includes the medicines and sometimes that amount also cover other exams like blood exams so is not that bad.
I don’t know how is the health care system in your country but for me this is new. I come from a place where medicine is mostly a private business so the national insurance or the hospital system is new. What really surprises me is how they give you the medicines. They give you in a bag with printed instructions and all is so perfect and organize. Actually I think the choice to take a medicines should be yours, like you should know what are you taking and why. Here they just give you there is no way in not having it. But again the insurance pays so is no that bad. And they will give you the information of the drug in English with the scientific name so you can easily look for it.
Over all I think that Taiwan is a good place to get sick haha. it is cheap to afford medical care, well the most I have ever pay is 500NTD and that included blood exams, the doctor appointment and some medicines. So is a complete service and you have easy access to it. so don’t worry that much if you get sick here you will be fine! I promise 🙂