Recently China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and Ministry of Finance jointly issued a circular, requiring all cities nationwide to initiate and carry out basic medical insurance for urban residents in 2009.
In principle, all cities that have not initiated the program are required to launch and implement it in the second quarter, with an insurance coverage rate exceeding 50 percent. Pilot cities that have already initiated the program are expected to expand the insurance coverage rate among residents to over 80 percent.
This is the first important document issued by the Central Government in support of deepening the reform of the medical care system. Reporters learned that since the basic medical insurance program for urban residents began selecting pilot cities in 2007, a total of 317 pilot cities had been designated by the end of 2008. By then, the number of residents covered by insurance reached 118.26 million, of which 11.15 million people have received benefits from the insurance. Around 50 percent of hospitalization fees and costs of outpatient services for serious illnesses within the scope of coverage will be disbursed from the fund to insured residents.
By People's Daily Online