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Migrants find little benefit in health insurance plan
Global Times | January 28, 2013 23:43
By Yin Yeping
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A plan to extend the scheme to help low-income migrant workers get medical insurance in Beijing might not find willing participants.

A media officer from the Beijing Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau, surnamed Cui, said Monday they plan to expand medical insurance coverage among migrant workers from the original 1.7 million people in 2012 to 2 million by the end of 2013.

This official project allows migrant workers to have the same medical services as local residents, and was started in April 2012.

A migrant worker, surnamed Yin, who works for a local restaurant, said that many people like him, who have a rural hukou (household registration) are already registered in the rural medical insurance system, which gives them the medical care they need.

"Why deduct more from our salary to get another medical insurance here?" he said.

Yin said that migrant workers who do manual labor are mostly in good health and rarely get sick.

"I always take medicine bought from my hometown instead when I have to," he said.

Another migrant construction worker, Duan Qiang, said that he does not feel the need to have local medical insurance in Beijing because he does not have a stable job.

"Many migrant workers like us prefer to change our jobs from time to time without being restricted by any contract," he said, adding if there is no contract, then there can be no medical insurance provided.

Zhang Zhiqiang, founder of Migrant Workers' Friend, an organization that protects migrant workers' rights, said that he doubts if the medical insurance service would be popular.

"The city has a substantial bias against migrant workers, especially those at low income levels from villages," he said, "so I wonder if this medical insurance will allow them to enjoy equal medical insurance with the local citizens or not."

According to the general population census in 2010, there were over 7.6 million migrant workers from rural areas in Beijing.

Cui made no comment on how the plan will be implemented.


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