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January 29, 2015

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More medicare help for jobless, juveniles

UNEMPLOYED people and juveniles can now get additional help with paying for treatment for conditions covered by a public insurance fund if they have joined the medicare system for urban residents.

Under the scheme, half of their contribution to medical fees will be covered for a number of conditions.

Among conditions included are kidney dialysis, anti-rejection treatment after kidney transplants, treatment for malignant tumors and mental conditions including schizophrenia, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The medicare system for urban residents is solely for permanent residents not covered by the medical care system for employed people — mainly unemployed adults and juveniles.

Retired workers are mostly covered by medical care for employed people.

With the medicare system for urban residents, up to 70 percent of medical fees are covered, depending on patients’ ages and the hospitals they use.

Annual premiums ranges from 90 yuan (US$14) to 680 yuan.

The new insurance scheme, to be officially launched on Friday, aims to further help children and people without stable incomes who would very likely be left impoverished by disease treatment, said an official from the Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau.

Zhang Haiqing, a 42-year-old mother who quit her own job to help her teenager son combat bone cancer, welcomed the new insurance.

“Though my husband has been working, I borrowed money from friends and relatives to cover part of the medical costs. These were over 400,000 yuan, after half of the total fees were paid by the urban residents medicare system,” she said.

With the new public insurance fund, half of the 400,000 yuan she paid would have been covered too, meaning Zhang’s family would only have had to pay 200,000 yuan.

Zhang suggested simplifying the procedure. “Families of patients are very busy. If hospitals and insurance companies could cooperate to deduct the covered part from the bill automatically, as the existing medicare system does, so families only pay their final share, it would be perfect,” she said.


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