Preparing for Taiwan’s Future Super-aged Society

The 2020 AmCham Taipei Longevity Forum 2.0 was held on November 11 at the Sherwood Hotel, drawing an audience of 90 members and their guests. The forum featured speakers and panelists from government, academia, and industry, allowing for a diverse range of viewpoints and an eye-opening discussion of the projected impact of Taiwan’s aging solutions and the potential solutions. AmCham was honored to gather key policy and opinion leaders in the same room to explore one of Taiwan’s most pressing issues.

The event’s keynote speech was delivered by Kao Shien-Quay, deputy minister of the National Development Council, who noted the urgency of addressing Taiwan’s rapidly aging population, the rate of which is on par with Singapore and South Korea. Moving forward, Kao said, the government has the responsibility to work together with private industry in applying digital solutions to the economic and social issues associated with an aging society.

A presentation by Distinguished Professor Wu Shiao-chi of National Yang-Ming University’s Institute of Health and Welfare Policy, suggested potential policy directions for coping with Taiwan’s aging society, including those related to the workforce and the urban environment.

Next, Wang Ying-wei, director general of the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, discussed the high rate at which Taiwan’s population is aging and the consequences of this phenomenon for the whole of society. Both Wu and Wang pointed to the World Health Organization’s Active Aging framework as a possible way of counteracting the negative effects of an increased elderly population. WHO defines active aging as “the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.”

While travel restrictions due to COVID-19 prevented Aaron Jones, Cigna’s Head of Analytics for APAC, from attending in person, he addressed the audience virtually in a pre-recorded video. Jones highlighted the importance of data and analytics in responding to the needs of an aging society. He also noted Cigna’s role in utilizing augmented intelligence – the process of combining human experience with machine intelligence – to deliver affordable, predictable, and simple healthcare to its customers. Taiwanese Osteoporosis Association board director Tu Shih-der also delivered a speech on public-private partnerships for reducing the rate of osteoporosis in Taiwan.

This year’s Longevity Forum featured two panel discussions moderated by Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan and Acer Group founder Stan Shih, respectively. Panelists included the NDC’s Kao Shien-quay, HPA’s Wang Ying-wei, Academia Sinica researcher Yang Pan-chyr, Yang-ming University’s Wu Shao-chi, National Health Insurance Administration Medical Review and Pharmaceutical Benefits Division Head Tai Hseuh-yung, Amgen Taiwan General Manager Joyce Lee, and Cigna Taiwan Life Insurance General Manager and CEO Tim Shields. The topics discussed were how to achieve a healthy aging society through preventative screening and cross-industry cooperation, and how to use public-private partnerships and big data to create a more effective strategy in preparation for a super-aged society.

In closing remarks, AmCham Taipei President Leo Seewald said that given Taiwan’s success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and its world-class healthcare system, the development of an effective, comprehensive approach to Taiwan’s longevity issues is an area where the island economy can really shine.

The forum’s platinum sponsor was Amgen. Cigna was the silver sponsor.