Free insurance for orphans to cover critical illness expands in China

08:26, September 29, 2010      

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Five thousand orphans from northeast China's Liaoning Province have received one year of free medical insurance for treatment of critical illnesses as a joint program of the government and charity organizations expands.

The insurance was provided by a program jointly launched by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the China Children Insurance Foundation (CCIF) in October 2009. It is designed for all healthy Chinese orphans under age 18 who have registered with the MCA.

So far, the insurance has been given to more than 280,000 orphans in Beijing, Tianjin, Sichuan, Qinghai and Shanxi, as well as other places, said Song Liying, head of CCIF's administration committee.

The insurance will be valid for one year from Oct. 1. Each insured orphan is covered for 100,000 yuan at a premium of 50 yuan (about 7.5 U.S. dollars) per year, Song said.

The 12 illnesses covered are: malignant tumors (including leukemia); organ and stem cell transplants; acute kidney failure; aplastic anemia; benign brain tumors; acute hepatitis; sequelae of cerebritis or meningitis; infantile paralysis; serious juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; serious Kawasaki disease; Myasthenia Gravis; and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.

"We plan to extend the insurance coverage to all 700,000 officially registered orphans in China," Song said.

The public and businesses can donate online or through mobile text messages, as well as in banks and post offices.

Information on how to donate is available at:

There are about 360 million children in China. Less than half are covered by commercial medical insurance or social welfare, according to the China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF). Even those who are covered cannot afford expensive treatments for diseases like leukemia.

"Insurance is something that can be purchased before disaster occurs. It will benefit thousands of children," said Chen Xiaoxia, the CCTF secretary general.



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