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China issues 1b social security cards | Updated: 2017-09-05 14:48

China has issued 1 billion social security cards as it works towards its goal of providing them to 90 percent of the population by 2020, the Beijing News reported Tuesday.

China aims to have full coverage of social insurance, steadily raise the level of social security pooling, establish a more convenient social insurance transfer and renewal mechanism, and implement social security card system to ensure that 90 percent of the population enjoys social security coverage in the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

Since the first social security card was issued in Shanghai in 1999, about 72 percent of the Chinese population have received a card, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said.

Six major functions of social security cards including electronic vouchers, information records, self-service inquiries, medical settlement and payment, have been popularized and the functions are expanding, the Ministry said.

People with a social security card can settle their medical bills in over 90 percent of Chinese cities. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security is promoting direct settlement of trans-provincial medical expenses, according to the report.

The social security card has also been approved for other government public services such as civil affairs, health care, provident fund, disabled services and agriculture-related subsidies, the report said.

The Ministry started to distribute the third-generation social security cards on Friday. They have a new swiping function and support direct settlement of trans-provincial medical expenses in cooperation with the People's Bank of China, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The card is also expected to be used online and people can used it via mobiles to reduce the time it takes to register, skip long queues and pay for treatment, according to the 2020 internet plus action plan by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

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