Orphans in China receive free insurance to cover critical illnesses

08:30, May 17, 2011      

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More than 28,000 orphans in China received free insurance coverage for the treatment of 12 critical illnesses on Monday, as a joint insurance program sponsored by the government and a Chinese charity organization continues to expand.

The joint insurance program was launched by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the China Children Insurance Foundation (CCIF) in October 2009. It was designed for children of poor families and MCA-registered orphans under the age of 18, according to the CCIF.

Dr. Heidi Hu, the CCIF's managing director, said that 28,264 orphans in the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the provinces of Shanxi and Qinghai will be beneficiaries of the insurance program.

Another 3,286 children from families with financial difficulties in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region will benefit from the program, too, she said.

"As of Monday, we have offered more than 350,000 insurance policies since the program was launched. More than 137,000 of the beneficiaries are orphans, while the rest are from families that are experiencing financial difficulties," Hu said.

"Our goal is to extend insurance coverage to all 712,000 of China's registered orphans," she said.

According to Hu, each insured child is covered for 100,000 yuan (about 15,152 U.S. dollars) at a premium of 50 yuan a year.

The 12 major illnesses covered include malignant tumors, illnesses requiring organ or stem cell transplants, acute kidney failure, aplastic anemia, acute hepatitis and infantile paralysis, Hu said.

Insured children will be notified about their new coverage by local civil affairs departments, which will act on behalf of the CCIF to distribute specially designed insurance cards, according to the doctor.

"The next step will be to give insurance to about 40,000 orphans in central China's Henan Province before June 1," said Hu.

The CCIF was created in April 2009 by the China Children and Teenagers' Fund, a Chinese philanthropic foundation.

The foundation said that it hopes businesses and members of the general public will donate to the program online or through text messages. More information on donating can be found at http://1j1.cctf.org.cn.

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