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Migrant Workers to Get Medical Insurance

Nearly 3 million migrant workers in Beijing will have access to the same medical and work-related injury insurance scheme as city residents.

Two new regulations on medical and occupational injury issued late last month put the onus on employers to pay the premiums for migrant workers' insurance. The regulations kick in September 1.

Since the 1950s, when the urban household registration system was adopted, Chinese farmers have been all but confined to their land and granted little access to the social welfare system designed for urban dwellers.

Wang Dexiu, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Labor and Social Security, said the medical insurance will cover hefty hospitalization bills and three kinds of outpatient services - radiation and chemotherapy, kidney dialysis and anti-rejection drugs for kidney transplants.

Other outpatient services are not covered, Wang said.

The insurance is valid only during periods of employment in Beijing.

Government surveys show that 80 percent of migrant workers in Beijing usually work in the city for about three years.

Migrant workers employed by enterprises registered in Beijing will also be covered by the occupational insurance scheme. However, workers with no labor contracts, such as babysitters and laborers paid by the hour, are not eligible.

(China Daily August 23, 2004)

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