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Free insurance for orphans in quake-hit province

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-08-30 16:31

BEIJING - More than 50,000 orphans in earthquake-hit Sichuan province in Southwest China received health insurance contracts on Friday as a gift for the new school term.

Those insured include 406 orphans left by the 7.0-magnitude quake that struck Lushan county in April. They are covered by a joint insurance program provided by the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China Children Insurance Foundation (CCIF).

Each insured child is covered for 100,000 yuan ($16,340) at a premium of 50 yuan a year to cover the costs of treating 12 critical illnesses, including malignant tumors and conditions requiring organ or stem cell transplants, said Dr Heidi Hu, CCIF's managing director.

An insurance fund created through donations will be accessible for one year starting on September 1, said Hu.

"It's the fourth year we are donating such insurance to registered orphans in Sichuan. Some of the new beneficiaries just lost their parents in the Lushan earthquake. We'd like to help them through the adversity, and I hope more people can join us," she said.

The foundation launched the program in cooperation with the ministry in 2009 to give free insurance to 712,000 orphans. Insurance contracts have also been donated to children whose families have financial difficulties.

Over the past four years, it has provided about 800,000 insurance contracts to children in 20 of the country's provinces and regions.

Insured children will be notified about their coverage by local civil affairs departments, which will act on behalf of the CCIF in distributing specially designed insurance cards, according to the doctor.

Hu said that the number of small online donations has risen this year. In previous years money was mainly donated by large enterprises.

"Small donations, big love. That's the way to keep our project sustainable," she said.

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