China Focus: China expands long-term care insurance coverage for disabled
BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) -- To further the well-being of people with disabilities, China has steadily expanded its trials for long-term care insurance, which are now being carried out in 49 cities and cover 145 million residents.
As an institutional arrangement designed particularly for people with disabilities, long-term care insurance provides recipients with caregiving guarantees and fiscal subsidies.
EXPANDING COVERAGE, MORE SERVICES
Official statistics showed there are around 40 million disabled or partially disabled elderly people in China -- a group prioritized in the trials for the insurance system launched in 2016.
"So far, the trials are running smoothly," said Fan Weidong, an official with the National Healthcare Security Administration. With a set of specified disability assessment criteria, the scope of coverage and treatment standards, payment methods, management, and operation protocols, the policy framework of the insurance system has been established.
Over the past six years, the scope of recipients has expanded to include urban and rural residents and workers in flexible employment, in addition to urban employees in the early stages.
Accumulatively, the insurance system logs 1.72 million beneficiaries, with an annual average reimbursement of about 16,000 yuan per capita, said Fan.
Over years of development, pilot areas are also actively adjusting services covered by the insurance.
Taking Shanghai as an example, the city provides 27 living care services as well as 15 common clinical care services.
According to Fan, the number of institutions providing services for long-term care insurance has increased by nearly 5,000 in recent years, and the number of people directly providing long-term care services has reached almost 300,000.
After years of development, trials for long-term care insurance have achieved remarkable results. However, there is still room for improvement in aspects such as diversified financing mechanisms, implementation of evaluation standards, and effective supply of services.
Most pilot cities have established a multi-channel funding mechanism involving units, individuals, medical insurance funds, and public finance. However, medical insurance funds are still overly relied upon, and funding levels vary significantly from region to region, awaiting further regulation at the national level.
Experts called for efforts to formulate a unified item list and guidance catalog for long-term care insurance services, together with detailed quality evaluation standards, and motivate pilot areas to include more urban and rural residents in the system.