TAIPEI, Taiwan – Taiwan should put forward comprehensive travel emergency standards for Chinese visitors under the free independent traveler (FIT) program in case they fall ill while in Taiwan, a medical and security service provider said Thursday.
Although the business sector is heartened to see an income boost following the FIT program, International SOS Taiwan said other risks exist, as different travel patterns of independent travelers might cause social problems.
The biggest concern, said the company’s managing director Keynes Chen, lies in what he described as a lack of insurance knowledge among Chinese people.
“Only one in 10 Chinese visitors will purchase a comprehensive insurance package that covers all kinds of medical expenses,” Chen said.
Under current FIT program regulations, each independent Chinese tourist must purchase travel insurance with a minimum coverage of NT$2 million (US$69,985), only accident-induced expenses are covered.
As a result, he said, those who seek medical treatment because of non-accident-related health problems might have difficulty paying their medical bills or getting back to China.
Pointing out that some of the Chinese tourists injured in a train crash in the Alishan mountain resort in late April are still in local hospitals due to a lack of transfer arrangements, Chen said the government needs to establish a standardized procedure for medical service providers to follow.
“We understand that both China and Taiwan hope to smooth out the FIT program, which marks a milestone in cross-Taiwan Strait relations, but supporting measures are needed,” he said.