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Hospitalization fund covers more children

CHILDREN enrolled in local kindergartens, primary and middle schools, and international schools can take part in Shanghai Children's Hospitalization Mutual Fund, which covers a large share of medical expenses in the new school year from September to next August.

Foreign children whose parents work in Shanghai can subscribe to the fund, which reimburses half of a child's hospitalization cost and outpatient fees for certain diseases, such as leukemia and cancer, up to an annual limit of 100,000 yuan (US$14,706).

Parents pay an annual premium of 60 yuan to the schools which joined the fund as a group. Parents of babies and preschoolers should pay the premium to their neighborhood health centers.

"Since it was established in 1996, the fund has expanded its coverage every year," said Yang Junyi with Shanghai Red Cross, which runs the fund. "Any educational institutions recognized by the government are covered by the fund, which now gives equal treatment to children previously not covered, including kids of migrant workers and those studying at international schools."

Officials said nearly all local students are covered by the fund, while only half of newborn babies are covered. The reason Yang said is because the fund only covers the period from when a baby reaches one month old to next August 31, some parents think it is not economical to pay a full year premium.

"Every year some parents come to us to ask about joining in the fund only after their babies are sick."

By the end of last May, the fund has paid out 845 million yuan in medical expenses for 952,000 children. It covers only standard medical treatment, not VIP clinics or beds at local hospitals, Yang said.

About 104 million yuan was spent on some 43,200 children suffering leukemia, cancer, hemophilia and other serious diseases.


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