The progress of the NRCMS in 2013
In 2013, the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme ran smoothly. Management and the overall system improved, covering a large rural population that enjoyed more benefits, for major diseases, which is manifested in the following fields:
1. The government input and benefit improved, further benefiting rural residents. By 2013, a total of 802 million people nationwide were covered by the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme, accounting for 99 percent of the whole rural population. Funds raised reached 370 yuan ($59.45) per capita, increasing by 62 Yuan comparing the year before. The reimbursement rate for hospitalization expenses in the reimbursable list exceeded 75 percent, and the actual compensation ratio continued to increase – near 80 percent at the town level medical institutions, over 60 percent at the county level and over 50 percent at the clinic, benefiting about 1.94 billion people with a year-on-year growth of 11.3 percent. 2. A multilevel and multiform preliminary financial security system for serious illness has also been established. First, work of ensuring financial security for serious illness focusing on the type of disease was consolidated and improved. In 2013, two more diseases, childhood phenylketonuria and hypospadias were included into the reimbursable list of NRCMS apart from 20 diseases such as childhood leukemia and congenital heart disease. About 1.99 million patients received reimbursements, and the real compensation ratio for 22 types of diseases reached 69 percent, largely reducing their financial burden. Second, the NHFPC actively encouraged buying serious illness insurance by using the funds of the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme. In 2013, about 28 provinces developed implementation plans for serious illness insurance. Up to 1.23 million patients received compensation and further relieved their burden.
3. Management and services also improved. First, transforming the functions of the government by entrusting NRCMS management and service to non-government institutions. Now, up to 24 percent of counties, districts or cities have commissioned commercial insurance companies to operate the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme. Second, the medical expenses reimbursement process was further facilitated. Rural residents participating in NRCMS in over 88 percent of areas nationwide are now able to get immediate reimbursement anywhere in their province. The national NRCMS information platform has connected with nine provincial platforms and several large medical institutions, which makes inspection of trans-provincial medical expenses possible and also paves the way for the pilot program of trans-provincial medical expenses reimbursement. Third, a reform in payment system has been deepened, covering over 80 percent of areas nationwide and helping curb soaring medical expenses to some extent. Major tasks of the NRCMS in 2014
According to the planned tasks of the healthcare reform, the NHFPC will continue to develop and improve the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme on the basis of urban-rural overall development of medical insurance.
First, the NRCMS should further raise the government input and reimbursement rate, maintain a participation rate of the NRCMS above 95 percent, increase annual subsidies to 320 Yuan per capita, improve and coordinate a reimbursement scheme, and keep the reimbursement rate for hospitalization expenses in reimbursable list at 75 percent and outpatient expenses at 50 percent.