China / Society

Healthcare affordability highlighted in 5-year plan

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-11-05 16:03

BEIJING - China will raise the medical insurance level to further protect the sick from falling into poverty, Minister of Health Chen Zhu said.

Chen made the remarks while explaining the highlights of the 12th five-year plan (2011-2015) for healthcare development in an interview with Xinhua.

Published by the government on Oct 19, the plan states that a national basic medical and healthcare system will be formed by 2015, allowing all Chinese to have access to basic public healthcare services.

To address high medical costs, the plan stipulates that annual medical insurance subsidies for non-working urban residents and rural residents will be raised from about 240 yuan ($38) to 360 yuan by 2015.

China has a three-tier health insurance scheme, including insurance for urban workers, non-working urbanites and rural residents.

Also according to the plan, under all three schemes, health insurance can cover as much as 75 percent of total inpatient care expenditures, reducing patients' out-of-pocket spending.

Furthermore, more diseases will be covered by a medical insurance program designed to provide financial aid to seriously ill patients. Authorities are mulling whether to include lung cancer under the program.

The program started operating in June 2010, covering diseases including childhood leukemia and congenital heart disease. It was expanded to cover eight diseases in 2011, and will further rise to 20 this year.

Hot Topics