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New Insurance Plan for Major Illnesses: State Council
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  • http://english.dbw.cn   2015-08-04 16:23:01
     

    A document published by China's State Council says that China will cover serious illness insurance in both urban and rural areas by the end of this year.[Photo:051jk.com]

    China's State Council, the country's cabinet, has published a document on Sunday, saying that China will cover serious illness insurance in both urban and rural areas by the end of this year.

    According to the document, all urban and rural residents currently covered in the nation's basic health insurance will have access to the serious illness insurance.

    CRI's Niu Honglin has more.

    Serious illness insurance, so far used only on a trial basis, reimburses patients when their medical bills far exceed basic medical insurance. It is intended to help prevent people being dragged into poverty by medical costs.

    Zhang Xiulan is the former dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy at Beijing Normal University.

    She says the highlight of the new insurance program is that it may help people with a low income or no jobs receive medical treatment without falling into poverty due to treatment costs.

    "So this insurance will really elevate the burden of the heavy health care cost on the household. As long as the family is under heavy health care cost, they will be eligible for this new program. And I think there are other measures; it will link in healthcare spending with income level with the household. "

    The program is required to cover at least 50 percent of the medical cost incurred for treating serious illnesses but falls out of the coverage of the basic insurance programs.

    It is not the first insurance program covering serious illnesses; however, Zhang Xiulan points out that there are major differences between the new program and the previous one.

    The previous program focused on disease. It identified 22 different types of diseases. This new program's focusing on cost, the real cost no matter what type of disease it is. As long as it costs more, it will be reimbursed. Secondly, the previous insurance was part of the social insurance program. This program is managed by commercial companies. So it will allow development in commercial types of health insurance.

    The proposal said that the serious illness fund will be raised from the basic medical insurance systems for urban workers and residents and the new type of cooperative medical care system in rural areas without additional fees from the insured.

    Commercial insurance institutions should be selected to undertake serious illness insurance business through governmental bidding.

    In addition, the monitoring and management on serious illness insurance should be enhanced to improve the service quality of commercial insurance institutions.

    Zhang Xiulian says that there are still challenges to overcome to make sure medical costs won't be huge financial burdens for families.

    Because we don't know the household income, for example, even though we reimburse 50 percent of the heavy cost, the other 50 percent for different household, they will have different burden. So this is how you really link it.

    She adds that since the government's overall cost for the new insurance program may be higher than anticipated, the country needs to mobilize more social resources and increase the efficiency of the system.

    In 2014, the serious illness insurance program helped more than 1.1 million patients in China, with the total fund reserve for the program reaching nearly 10 billion yuan.

     

     

    Author:    Source: CRI     Editor: Yang Fan

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