Full coverage medical insurance

China Daily, March 03, 2017
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In November, the International Social Security Association, the world's leading international organization for social security institutions, government departments and agencies, gave its prestigious Award for Outstanding Achievement in Social Security to the Chinese government for its unprecedented extension of pensions, health insurance and other forms of social protection.

The award, bestowed by the ISSA every three years, offers worldwide recognition of a country's political commitment and long-term results in the field of social security, ISSA's news release said.

While inspecting the No 1 Hospital Affiliated to Henan University of Science and Technology in September 2015, Premier Li Keqiang asked several patients how much of their medical expenses would be covered by their health insurance.

By then China had succeeded in expanding its public health insurance system-basic health for urban residents and new rural cooperative medical insurance-to all its population, nearly 1.4 billion people.

Many people laud this achievement as the largest social welfare project in human history thanks to the huge number of beneficiaries.

In 2000, public health insurance only covered less than 30 percent of the population, mostly urban residents. The government's statistics show the fast increase in the coverage of health insurance, which started speeding up in 2009 under Li's direction, has made a big difference to people's well-being.

The government is now trying to make sure people can enjoy their medical insurance nationwide, rather than only in their hometowns as before, and ensuring the whole population is covered by critical illness insurance, which is aimed at preventing medical expenses from forcing people into poverty.

Li has reiterated that a central target of healthcare reform is to make healthcare more convenient and affordable.