Neither here nor there: Study casts light on aging Taiwanese migrants to the US (review of Ken Chih-Yan Sun’s ‘Time and Migration’ for Taipei Times)

The following book review appeared in today’s Taipei Times.

With droves of Taiwanese Americans reportedly bolting stateside on “vaccine tours,” the issue of transnational healthcare opportunism is back in the public eye. If you’re wondering if that’s a real thing, well, while I believe I may have just coined the phrase, the phenomenon it describes has been controversial since Taiwan’s superb National Health Insurance (NHI) system was launched in 1995.

“Editorials of major Taiwanese newspapers — such as Apple Daily, United Daily News, United Evening News and the Liberty Times (the sister paper of the Taipei Times) — have criticized overseas Taiwanese for manipulating public health insurance by paying minimal fees and shifting their medical cost to other local taxpayers,” writes Ken Chih-Yan Sun (孫志硯) in Time and Migration, a new work on aging Taiwanese migrants to the US.

In 2006, the law was changed so that dual nationals had to have been in country for at least four months of the year to avail themselves of NHI; a 2010 amendment pushed the threshold to six months. Still, the perception remains that many Taiwanese Americans are taking advantage of both systems in an unscrupulous manner. As Sun observes, those who return to live out their dotage full-time in their homeland are not spared criticism: “Given that they had spent most of their working years contributing to the United States … many returnees faced negative critiques in Taiwan …”

To read the full article, click here



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