China's rural medical insurance to get higher gov't subsidies

2013-01-07 13:10:59 GMT2013-01-07 21:10:59(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government will raise its subsidies to rural residents' medical insurance in 2013, the country's health minister, Chen Zhu, announced on Monday.

The annual government subsidy for each rural resident under the "new rural cooperative medical program" will be upped from the current 240 yuan to 280 yuan (44.94 U.S. dollars), said Chen at the national health work conference in Beijing.

Under the program, rural residents will pay a premium of 60 yuan per person themselves. So the total funds pooled for each will be 340 yuan, up from 290 yuan in 2012.

China launched its "new rural cooperative medical program" in 2003 as an insurance scheme to ensure the country's vast number of rural residents can access affordable medical treatment and to reduce disease-triggered poverty.

The population covered by the program skyrocketed from 80 million to 900 million and the average fund pooling standard has risen from 30 yuan since the outset to the current 290 yuan.

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