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More fiscal subsidies needed for broadening coverage of maternity insurance

By Wu Zheyu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-03-08 17:55

More fiscal subsidies needed for broadening coverage of maternity insurance

Sun Jie,vice dean of the School of Insurance and Economics at the University of International Business and Economics,member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) committee, was doing interview with China Daily website.[Photo by Zhang Guangteng/chinadaily.com.cn]

Proposals nowadays have been responded and some of them are turned into force with a faster pace, according to Sun Jie , member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) committee, during an exclusive interview with China Daily website.

The Insurance and Economics professor with the the University of International Business and Economics said CPPCC committee responds quickly to proposals and adopts practical policies in a timely manner, her proposals this year would continue to focus on long term care insurance, maternity insurance and the development of a comprehensive social security system.

As a member of the 12th national committee of the CPPCC, this is the last year of his term.

"It’s a good chance to summarize the proposals and ideas that had been gathered in the past five years." Sun said.

"The proposals now are getting more attention from related agencies of the government and that’s the reason for the higher responsive quality." the professor explained.

For example, she initially presented the proposal a long term care insurance system in 2013. Three years later, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security launched the first pilot programme and are expanding it to 15 cities across the nation.

A good news comes out recently, according to the latest news from the State Council's official website, the five-year plan (2016-2020) on elderly care has been issued and pension and healthcare systems will be improved. One detailed section that has aroused public interest is that commercial insurance companies are encouraged to develop long term care insurance products and services, a response to Sun’s proposals to some degree.

Sun is also continuing to call for the inclusion of maternity insurance in the universal health care system. Due to its limited coverage, fewer than half of China's 360 million female employees participate and less than 3.6 percent of the total female working population enjoy the benefits. In recent years, the Maternity Insurance fund has amounted to more than 60 billion yuan. It uses a pay-as-you-go system which means the population it is supposed to benefit has not actually been taken care of.

"There are two parts of maternity insurance, one is the medicare reimbursement, which has been officially included in the universal health care system as of January this year. The other part is the maternity pay, which accounts for more than three quarters of the whole fund."

On this possible shortage, Sun suggests that from now on, maternity pay should no longer be paid out of the fund, but rather a fiscal appropriation should be made to shoulder the burden together with corporations.

Another issue she wants to raise this year, is delaying the age that people can access the full pension. Under the present policy, the mandatory age for retirement is 60. Sun has suggested raising the pension age limit by one or two years and those that choose to retire early would only get 85-90 per cent of the pension. This is a common practice in many western countries and has been proven to be effective to curb people’s intention to early retirement.

"When enterprises are not performing well for profits, they tend to let employees retire earlier--which is harmful both for the society and the individuals, especially for our pension system, that more residents get pension at early age while less people are paying for it. Our government should gradually delay the timing of permitting people to get the full pension. Let them get used to the postponed retirement step-by-step." Sun said.

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