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100 million migrant workers to get new healthcare benefits

By Hu Yongqi | China Daily | Updated: 2017-10-17 07:36

100 million migrant workers to get new healthcare benefits

Medical bills will be paid near place of employment for injuries or sickness

Overwork can lead to ill health, injuries and loss of income. The financial burden is uppermost in the minds of migrant workers regarding illness and injuries that could result in wages being cut.

A vast number of people in this group move from one city to another, working under the harshest conditions at construction sites or other heavy-labor industries. As long as their medical payments cannot be reimbursed off site when going to hospital, they will be reluctant to have treatment, even when necessary. Instead, they will leave medical treatment for when they return home.

Liu Hui is one example of this. The 36-year-old construction worker from East China's Anhui province broke a bone in his hand when operating a mixer machine six months ago. But facing medical bills, he decided to treat the pain after returning home during the Spring Festival in February. The new-type rural cooperative medical care he has joined will relieve his financial burdens when he gets treated then.

But things are expected to change as the central government will make further endeavors to accelerate the process of off-site reimbursement of medical charges.

More than 100 million migrant workers are estimated to benefit from the central government's campaign to expand off-site medical settlement, a move that helps get their medical bills reimbursed more easily when they go to hospital in nonnative places.

This was part of the decisions made at a State Council executive meeting, which was presided over by Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 9, to further integrate reimbursement systems and facilitate patients nationwide.

All provinces and regions had been integrated into the nation's system of off-site medical settlement by the end of September, according to a statement released after the meeting.

The upgraded network covers all participants for basic medical insurance in urban areas and the new-type rural cooperative medical care for rural residents. More than 6,000 designated hospitals are connected under the program, however, thousands of others have still to be linked.

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