China to Fully Implement Critical Illness Insurance in June
   2014-03-03 20:12:49      Web Editor: Cui

The healthcare insurance system will top the agenda at this year's two sessions meetings.

This comes after the central authourity annouced plans to extend the country's healthcare insurance system in June, to include the treatment of critical illness.

CRI's Shen Ting has the details.

Liu Wen'e is a local resident in Taicang city of east China's Jiangsu province. She was diagnosed with blood disease several years ago.

Yan Xiaoyan, Liu' daughter, says that the medical treatment almost cost her family their life savings.

"The treatment cost over 300 thousand yuan, and it is still not finished. Doctors say my mum will still need to take medicine in the long term."

Luckily, a pilot version of the critical illness insurance program had already been implemented in Taicang. Liu's family received reimbursement in the value of 240 thousand yuan, accounting for 80 percent of the total medical costs.

Since 2012, China has been expanding the coverage of critical illness insurance in some pilot regions.

Critical illness insurance will pay for more than 50 percent of the expenses incurred by insured people after receiving compensation from their basic medical insurance. Congenital heart disease, advanced renal disease, cancer and other major diseases are included in the critical illness program.

And by the end of this June, all provincial governments in the country will fully implement or pilot the critical illness insurance scheme for local residents.

However, according to Sun Fengyuan, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the current system needs to be improved.

"I think it is very important that this critical illness program is launched, with the aim of ensuring that most people will not be reduced to poverty because of diseases. However, we need to improve the management of the medical care system, and evaluate its accessibility for the insured people. Additionally, the supervisory mechanism is not complete. Strengthening supervision is a significant part of making sure the insured people who are really in need can gain fairer access to the critical illness insurance."

Sun is going to render a proposal that will guarantee the rights of patients to attain better treatment and insurance at the top advisory body's annual meeting.

Apart from the changes that need to be made within the program itself, Cai Jiangnan, a professor from the China Europe International Business School, recommends that the critical illness program is treated and implemented separately based on the different incomes of different regions.

"I think that in economically developed regions, critical illness insurance can be included in the basic medical insurance, because they have abundant funds for basic medical insurance and use part of the money to cover serious illness, and their premium is higher; but in regions with poor economies, it's good for residents to have two forms of insurance."

Cai adds that regions with limited funding for basic medical insurance need to find new ways of raising money to provide coverage for serious illnesses.

For CRI, this is Shen Ting.


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