China boosts rural medical insurance

Updated: 2012-02-27 20:59

By Wang Qingyun (

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People covered by the rural medical insurance system can now be reimbursed up to 60,000 yuan ($9,500), a senior official said on Monday. That's a 10,000 yuan ($1,570) increase over last year's maximum.

Meanwhile, the government's annual subsidy for the system will increase by 40 yuan, to 240 yuan, per person in 2012, Yang Qing, director of rural health management department of the Ministry of Health, said at a news conference.

The rural medical insurance system launched in 2003 and was established across the country in 2010. The system targets people with rural residency and are not covered by the urban residency insurance program.

According to Yang, more than 830 million people have joined the rural medical insurance system.

Yang said hospitals around the country treated about 7,200 children with leukemia in 2011. The treatment cost 145 million yuan in total, and 65 percent was covered by the system. And the system covered costs of about 578 million yuan (or 78 percent of the total costs) to treat 22,600 children with congenital heart disease, he said.

However, like the urban medial insurance system, the rural medical insurance system is divided and operated independently by different provincial-level administrative regions, which means it is hard for one to get reimbursement if they go to a hospital outside the region they are from.

This poses a problem, especially for migrant workers.

"We're working on an information management system on the national level, and we are carrying out the pilot program in two provinces," Yang said. "The national and the provincial-level networks will be linked, and a migrant worker's information will be shared on the national platform, which will help them get reimbursement more easily."