Pilot scheme benefits migrant workers
Monday, April 3, 2006
Li Caiyun and her husband do not need to worry about expensive hospital bills now their company has joined a local government medical insurance pilot scheme, specially designed for migrant workers.
It takes them only 10 minutes to walk to their local healthcare centre, where they spend as little as 20 yuan (US$2.5) for medicines for ailments such as colds and fevers, said the couple from east China’s Anhui Province.
Before the scheme, they had to spend about 100 yuan (US$12.5) for medicine to cure a simple cold at a government-funded hospital, which is several kilometers away from their home.
After a successful one-year trial of the pilot scheme, Shenzhen municipal government recently decided to extend it across the whole city, not just districts inhabited by migrant workers.
According to the scheme, companies buy medical insurance for their employees by paying 8 yuan (US$1) a month.
Employees like Li Caiyun, who works with her husband at a furniture company in Longgang District of Shenzhen, have to pay just 4 yuan (50 US cents) every month.
Migrant workers need to spend just 12 yuan (US$1.5) to see doctors at a designated clinic or healthcare centre, and are reimbursed if the charge for a single service is less than 90 yuan (US$11).
Hospital patients can claim back all of their medical bills, up to a maximum of 60,000 yuan (US$7,400).
It is one of the first trials in the country to solve the problem of rising medical costs for low-income migrant workers.
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