New medicare system beneficial to rural residents

Updated: 2007-01-23 22:42

XI'AN -- More than 57 percent of China's rural families that joined the new rural cooperative medical care system had made claims for reimbursements of medical expenses by 2005, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The survey showed that the families were reimbursed 25.7 percent of their total medical expenses, with an average refund of 731 yuan (about 91 US dollars). The survey polled 19,195 rural families in 32 counties of 17 provinces.

The new rural cooperative medical care system, launched in 2003, is aimed at helping farmers cover the cost of medical services.

Under the system, each farmer family pays 10 yuan per family member to a medical fund every year. The state and local governments also contribute 10 yuan to the fund. A farm family member is then entitled to a refund of a proportion of the cost of medical treatment.

The survey also showed that 90 percent of families who participated in the system are willing to stay in the system.

Statistics show that by June 2005, the system covered 495 million rural residents and the refunds totaled 14.412 billion yuan (1.8 billion US dollars) for 282 million medical cases.

By the end of last September, the system had been extended to 1,433 counties, accounting for 50.1 percent of the country's total.

About 406 million farmers, or 45.8 percent of the total rural population, joined the system last year.

The survey said that management, accounting, auditing and supervision mechanisms for the fund had been established to ensure the effective and safe operation of the system.

The survey was jointly conducted by Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health.

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