A drive to get more kids insured

In a circular issued last week, the National Healthcare Security Administration announced plans to increase lobbying campaigns and streamline enrollment processes in order to extend basic medical insurance coverage for children in China. According to the paper, by the end of the next year, over 80% of babies will have access to national basic medical insurance within a year of their birth, and by the end of 2025, the percentage of children who have insurance coverage may rise even further. The administration stated that in order to accomplish these goals, childcare centers, local communities, and companies should be encouraged to educate parents about enrolling in insurance.

 

According to the circular, babies should normally be covered within 90 days of delivery, and any costs paid for medical care during that time should be reimbursed. “Local governments should integrate processing of registrations and other affairs related to newborns and step up information sharing between healthcare security and health authorities,” it stated. The circular further stated that communities have to consider eliminating residential registrations that would make it more difficult for kids to sign up for insurance plans at home or at school. “It is also important to monitor rates of insured children and analyze reasons for uninsured primary or middle school students,” it stated.

 

Children in China have access to a fundamental safety net through the national healthcare insurance program. The administration estimates that 256 million children were enrolled as of last year. “However, problems such as lengthy and complicated steps for getting enrolled, lack of awareness among some parents and residential restrictions still exist,” concluded the report. Ma Li, a mother of a 4-month-old daughter in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, reported that on December 13 she applied for her daughter’s medical security card and birth certificate, and on December 21 she made the first payment. “The procedures were quite easy and I finished them online,” she stated.

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