Healthcare insurance reform better balances public medical funds, experts say

The recent healthcare insurance reform adopted by local governments is aimed at promoting efficient and equitable access to public medical funds and increasing benefits for people most in need, such as the elderly who are more susceptible to getting sick, experts said recently.

Dozens of provinces, including Guangdong, Hubei and Sichuan, have recently begun transferring monthly sums of medical insurance money that had been previously sent to workers’ personal spending accounts to an outpatient insurance fund managed by authorities.

For retirees, the amount of allowance they receive will be a fixed amount associated with the average level in a region, rather than their personal pensions.

For other individuals, the most obvious change is that they will receive less money in their personal accounts.

Jin Weigang, deputy director of Zhejiang University’s Institute of State System Research, said during an interview with Xinhua News Agency that the personal accounts system is flawed because it cannot meet the demands of workers who fall sick often, while relatively healthy people have excessive amounts of money sitting idle.

“Under such circumstances, it was urgent that the government establish a mutual-aid medical insurance system to improve the insurance for outpatient visits and reduce the out-of-pocket expenses being covered by individuals,” he said.

Though some people will receive less money in their personal accounts, experts said that the change has made China’s medical insurance system more robust and sustainable, and in the long term, the mutual-aid model is bound to benefit every one.