Posts tagged ‘Health insurance’

02/08/2015

China to expand medical insurance for major illnesses | Reuters

China will expand medical insurance to cover all critical illnesses for all urban and rural residents by the end of the year, the cabinet said on Sunday, the latest step in a plan to fix a healthcare system that has sparked public discontent.

The State Council said 50 percent of the medical costs will be covered by insurance in a bid to “more effectively reduce the burden of medical expenses”, in a statement posted on the government’s website.

President Xi Jinping‘s government has touted access to affordable healthcare as a key platform of his administration, underscoring the importance of meeting the needs of the nearly 1.4 billion people, many of whom have often complained of large out-of-pocket expenses due to low levels of insurance coverage.

Many people say the cost of serious illnesses such as cancer and diabetes can bankrupt households under the current system.

The aim of expanding health insurance was to “effectively alleviate poverty caused by illness” and to build a strong universal healthcare system, the State Council said.

Since 2009, China has spent 3 trillion yuan ($480 billion) on healthcare reform, but the system still struggles with a scarcity of doctors, attacks by patients on medical staff and a fragmented drug distribution and retail market.

Economists say it is crucial for China to improve the quality of its healthcare if it wishes to remake its economy and boost domestic consumption. They say a stronger safety net will encourage Chinese to spend more and save less.

China’s healthcare spending is set to hit $1 trillion by 2020, up from $357 billion in 2011, according to McKinsey & Co, attracting a rapid inflow of money from private insurers, hospital operators and other investors.

via China to expand medical insurance for major illnesses | Reuters.

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28/02/2015

What the Budget Means for Regular Indians – India Real Time – WSJ

The Modi government’s budget offered some sops for middle-class tax payers and a series of steps aimed at boosting social security for the country’s poor.

Tax Breaks on Health Insurance, Travel: Individuals will be allowed to deduct up to 25,000 rupees ($400) annually in health-insurance premiums from their taxes. That is an increase from the current 15,000-rupee deduction. For people 60 years or older, the deduction will be 30,000 rupees.

Mr. Jaitley also proposed increasing the amount of transportation expenses individuals can deduct to 1,600 rupees a month, up from 800 rupees a month now.

Pension Deduction: Individuals can now claim an additional tax deduction of up to 50,000 rupees ($800) if they put the money in the government’s New Pension Scheme. “This will enable India to become a pensioned society instead of a pensionless society,” said Mr. Jaitley.

Social Security programs: In a bid to provide a social safety net, Mr. Jaitley said the state will provide accidental death insurance of 200,000 rupees for a premium of just one rupee a month. State insurers will also offer policies covering natural and accidental death for 330 rupees a year.

Though available to all, the relatively small size of the insurance cover implies these will likely be used mostly by the poor.

The government will also encourage individuals to set up pension accounts under a new program. For individuals who open such an account by Dec. 31, the government will match individual contributions up to 1,000 rupees a year, for five years.

Tax-Free bonds:  Mr. Jaitley plans to allow government agencies and others to issue tax-free infrastructure bonds to fund roads, railways and irrigation. Details weren’t disclosed but typically interest on such bonds is tax free.

Service Tax: Now for the bad news: your restaurant and phone bills will soon go up, because the government will raise the service tax to 14% from 12.4%. Individuals indirectly pay this tax on a wide range of services, including on insurance premiums, hotel bills and electricity bills.

Gold Bonds: Since Indians won’t give up their love for gold, Mr. Jaitley tried to come up with ways to at least get it out of people’s homes and into banks. He introduced a plan that he said would make it easier for people keep gold in a bank, earn interest on it and borrow against it.

Mr. Jaitley also proposed a “Sovereign Gold Bond” that would act as an alternate to owning physical gold. These bonds would have a fixed rate of interest and “be redeemable in cash in terms of the face value of the gold,” he said.

Unaccounted-for Money: Mr. Jaitley said the government would introduce more stringent requirements for people to declare assets held overseas and make it harder for people to buy real-estate with cash in an effort to tax evasion.

via What the Budget Means for Regular Indians – India Real Time – WSJ.

08/07/2014

Indian Budget 2014: Biocon chief wants more R&D incentives, fewer essential drugs – Reuters

India’s $15 billion healthcare industry has taken hits on several fronts in recent years, from slow approvals for drugs in clinical trials to several run-ins with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the quality of its generic drugs.

Market growth fell to less than 10 percent last year after the increase in the number of drugs that the government said should be subject to price caps so that poor and middle-class people could afford them (Only 15 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people have health insurance).

Now, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hinting at a “bitter pill” to rescue India’s economy, the pharma industry wouldn’t want to be at the receiving end of tough decisions; it would be difficult for a business that’s used to making medicine instead of taking it.

via India Insight.

04/07/2014

Budget 2014: Wishlist from healthcare sector | India Insight

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has its work cut out if it wants to transform the country’s health system and provide a universal health insurance programme.

India has just 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people, and 80 percent of this workforce is in urban areas serving 30 percent of the population, according to industry lobby group NATHEALTH.

Less than 25 percent of the population has access to any form of health insurance. And India’s public and private expenditure on health is around 4 percent of its GDP, the lowest among BRICS countries.

India is seeing a rise in lifestyle diseases and is on its way to become the world’s diabetes capital with more than 60 million diabetics, a number that the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI) estimates will cross 85 million in 2030, or nearly 8 percent of the population today.

India Insight spoke to stakeholders in the healthcare sector about their wishlist for the budget. Edited excerpts:

Dr. Jitendra B. Patel, President, Indian Medical Association

“Impetus has to be given to preventive aspect of treatment. Safe drinking water and sanitation are the two important things which are to be addressed immediately. Primary care should be given more budget than secondary care. For a developing country like India, corporate culture is not going to help the people. We have to serve the poor people.

“Also, the ratio of doctors must increase. For that, more and more medical colleges are the need of the hour.”

via Budget 2014: Wishlist from healthcare sector | India Insight.

26/01/2013

* China to expand rural medical insurance coverage

Xinhua: “China will include more serious diseases in its existing rural medical insurance system in 2013, the Ministry of Health said in an annual work agenda published on Friday.

Insurance

Insurance (Photo credit: Christopher S. Penn)

According to the agenda, pilot programs will be launched to ensure that rural children with two types of severe urine disorders, among other diseases that the plan did not elaborate on, have their medical expenses reimbursed under the rural cooperative medical cooperative program.

China launched the rural insurance scheme in 2003 to ensure that the country’s vast number of rural residents have access to affordable medical treatment and to reduce disease-triggered poverty. Under the program, both governments and individuals contribute.

As of 2012, the scheme covers 20 serious diseases, up from two in June 2010, when serious diseases were first included in the reimbursement plan.

According to the ministry’s agenda, the annual government subsidy for participants in the rural health care scheme will be raised by 40 yuan(6.43 U.S. dollars) to 280 yuan in 2013.

Participants will have 75 percent of their inpatient expenses reimbursed under the rural cooperative medical program and coverage for outpatient costs will be boosted, it said.

The ministry requires that the minimum annual reimbursement for rural inhabitants subsidiary should be no less than 80,000 yuan.

In 2013, individuals will each pay a 60-yuan premium, bringing the total funds pooled for each person to 340 yuan, up from 290 yuan in 2012. In 2003, the average fund pooled for each person was 30 yuan.

Official statistics show that the number of people covered by the program skyrocketed from 80 million in 2003 to nearly 900 million in 2012.”

via China to expand rural medical insurance coverage – Xinhua | English.news.cn.

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