At the same time, however, there are still many Chinese poor who are neglected by the healthcare system.
China has been making considerable reforms to its health insurance system and has now reached the point that about 95 percent of its population – approximately 1.3 billion citizens – have coverage with some kind of plan.
This, according to the latest figures that have been released by the Chinese government.
This level of health insurance coverage throughout the population represents a considerable amount of progress. This most populous country on the globe has been making a massive effort to roll out universal healthcare that is affordable, and has been doing so since the system’s overhaul began in 2009. However, as much as there has been tremendous progress, there remains 5 percent of the population – primarily made up of the poor – who are uninsured.
In a country as large as China, a lack of health insurance among 5 percent of the population is still enormous.
However, it should be considered that in 2006, only 45 percent of the people in China had health insurance coverage. This means that over the last 7 years, there has been a growth in the uptake of first time cover, as over 600 million people have purchased a policy for the first time.
By 2009, China was already a year ahead of its own schedule, when it was able to offer health insurance to 90 percent of its population, said data released by the government. The World Health Organization (WHO) representative in China, Dr. Michael O’Leary, said that “The increase in the past decade is really quite astonishing; I don’t know of any other countries that have done that.”
The primary focus of the country has been on three main health insurance plans so that this type of progress could be made. The first is a mandatory policy for urban employees, which has premiums that start at $100 per year and is funded, in part, by the employer. The next is a voluntary plan that residents of cities can purchase when they are not eligible for the first type of plan. These consumers are made up primarily of seniors, unemployed people, and students. That plan starts at $20 per year and is subsidized by the state. Finally, there is the largest plan, which is the New Rural Cooperative Medical System, which has almost 900 million policyholders and costs $20 per year.