1.28 bn Chinese covered by medical insurance

1.28 bn Chinese covered by medical insuranceBeijing, Oct 12 - China's three basic medical insurances programmes currently cover 1.28 billion people, or 95.5 percent of the nation's total population, the government said Wednesday.

The number of people covered by a medical insurance programme for urban employees, an insurance programme for unemployed urban citizens and the new rural cooperative medical care system is 154 million more than that of 2008, authorities said.

China has a population of 1.3 billion.

The government accelerated its healthcare reform in April 2009 by unveiling a three-year plan with an investment of about 850 billion yuan to provide affordable, fair and high-quality healthcare services, reported Xinhua.

The reform gives special priority to China's vast rural population, especially farmers, whose annual per capita income is about 1,595 yuan ($250).

As of June, 832 million people, or more than 90 percent of China's rural population, have joined the rural cooperative medical care system, due to enhanced subsidies for rural residents.

The system has allowed rural residents to recover as much as 70 percent of their hospitalization fees in 2011, much higher than the 50-percent cap created in 2008.

A release said the system, which is largely funded by donations and government allocations, acquired 16.6 billion yuan in funding this year, a 75-percent increase over the amount of funds raised in 2008.

The assistance system has benefited nearly 100 million people, mainly poor, disabled and elderly people.(IANS)