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Jobless residents to get medical insurance
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About 2.3 million unemployed residents in Shanghai will be eligible for medical insurance starting next year, making the city the first in the country to give this group such coverage.

The unemployed, including children, will be added to the Residence Medical Insurance System starting January 1, the municipal government announced today. It means that almost every resident in the city will have some form of medical insurance.

The insurance will cover 40 to 50 percent of the medical expenses of the unemployed.

Presently, only employed or self-employed people with a serious disability have medical insurance while unemployed residents are responsible for paying their own medical bills.

Under the new system, those above the age of 70 can be reimbursed 70 percent of ordinary outpatient costs and 50 percent of fees on hospitalization. Students under the age of 18 and babies can be reimbursed 50 percent on both outpatient costs and hospitalization.

The city government will allocate about 450 million yuan (US$60.98 million) annually to cover the medical costs.

Thus far, about 13 million residents, or nearly 95 percent of the population with the right to live in Shanghai, have joined the city's medical insurance system.

(Shanghai Daily December 20, 2007)

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