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New Medicare Scheme Helpful

About 300,000 migrant workers have shown interest in a medicare scheme with some signing on, according to the Shenzhen Municipal Labor and Social Security Bureau. 


Just over 500 migrant workers used the scheme to pay for doctors’ visits this month while 300,000 applied for the pilot scheme, which began in March.


About 187,300 workers have successfully signed up the scheme so far.


The scheme cost an average of 33 yuan (US$4) per person totaling 18,789 yuan last month. Individuals paid 5,594 yuan, while companies paid the rest.


Companies and workers share a monthly medical insurance premium under the scheme with workers only needing to pay four yuan each.


The new policy covers migrant workers for all sickness costs including clinical treatment and hospitalization. It is the first policy of its kind in China to make it easier for migrant workers to get medical treatment.


Fifty-five hospitals in Longgang, Longhua and Shajing subdistricts have signed on but a shortage of hospitals has made it difficult for program coordinators to meet demands.


“We will cooperate with the health bureau to increase the number of such special hospitals,” said Huang Zaoji, vice director general of the labor and social security bureau.


Figures from the municipal public health bureau show that only a few migrant workers had medical insurance before the scheme was launched. Many went to illegal clinics when they were ill, because they were much cheaper.


(Shenzhen Daily April 8, 2005)

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