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China to enhance medical insurance, assistance against major diseases

Updated: Nov 19,2021 12:15

China will improve medical insurance and assistance targeting major and critical diseases with a multi-layered medical security system, according to a circular released by the General Office of the State Council on Nov 19.

The government-led system, with widespread participation, should focus on easing the financial burden on people facing difficulties due to major and serious diseases, while putting in place a long-term mechanism against illness-caused poverty.

The circular urged improving a multi-layered medical security system, featuring basic medical insurance, critical illness insurance and medical assistance, to those in difficulty.

Among them, basic medical insurance should be primary, the second should tilt toward vulnerable groups such as people living on minimum subsistence allowances, and medical assistance, if needed after the first two are in place, serves to protect people from falling into poverty due to illness.

For medical assistance, the scope of coverage should be clearly set, and annual pay threshold and ratio should vary by recipient type, the circular said.

Eligibility for medical assistance should be determined by the financial standing of patients' families, medical expenses and medical insurance payments, among other factors.

A long-term mechanism on preventing people from falling into or back into poverty because of illness should include an early warning system on huge medical bills and an application-based assistance mechanism for eligible people.

The circular called for attracting charitable aid and developing mutual-aid medical insurance and commercial health insurance to support assistance efforts.

To ensure medical assistance, the circular stressed detailing services on the care list, integrating such services with basic medical insurance through unified management, streamlining application and review procedures, and boosting overall service management.

It also called for improved cross-departmental coordination, funds management and capacity-building at the grassroots level.