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Health insurance gets approval

Wang Qingyun
Updated: Aug 28,2014 6:43 PM

The central government decided at an executive meeting of the State Council on Aug 27 that it would promote an insurance program to cover most of the medical expenses concerning serious illnesses of unemployed and rural people around the country.

Premier Li Keqiang presided over the meeting, and the government said it would work with commercial health insurers to coordinate basic insurance programs provided by the government, so that people can have more of their medical costs reimbursed.

In August 2012, six ministerial-level departments — including the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Health (now National Health and Family Planning Commission) — issued a circular asking provincial authorities to cooperate on the government’s insurance programs for unemployed people and rural residents.

The government already provides basic health insurance which includes reimbursement of some medical expenses of unemployed urban residents and children in urban areas, and a “new rural cooperative medical system” for rural residents.

But the central government said in the circular it decided to introduce a new type of insurance program to provide more assistance for unemployed or rural people who require treatment for serious illnesses — and it would also support commercial health insurers to run the program.

The central government decided at the executive meeting on Aug 27 that it would encourage insurance companies to engage in various forms of health insurance business, and it would also encourage health institutions to become designated hospitals for commercial health insurance programs in order to lower the unreasonable burden of health expenditures.

It added it would strengthen supervision over the commercial health insurance market and take legal action against those who do not play by the rules.

The central government said it would accelerate the construction of general hospitals, hospitals specializing in Traditional Chinese Medicine and rehabilitative institutions.

And, in order to improve the environment, it would aim to push forward projects to prevent and control air pollution and pollution of key rivers, protect natural forests and revert farmland back to forests and grassland.

The government said it would make great efforts to develop clean energy and launch several projects — concerning wind power, hydropower, photovoltaic power and nuclear power in coastal areas.

It added that a third-party assessment of the implementation of its policies — including those aimed at streamlining administrative approval procedures and delegating administrative power to lower levels, and also renovating slum areas — found that though these policies have had positive effects, some are not well designed or not well implemented.

The central government called on local governments to further streamline administrative procedures and improve their ability to supervise the market, instead of simply focusing on restricting entry into the market.

It said it would increase its financial support to rural and underdeveloped areas, in order to reach its targets this year concerning upgrading slum areas, reducing poverty and improving the safety of drinking water.