China will further optimize medical insurance coverage for COVID-19 treatment after downgrading management
Published: Jan 07, 2023 02:04 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

China will further optimize the medical insurance coverage for COVID-19 patients, with a major focus to fully reimburse hospitalization expenses, after the country decided to downgrade the infectious disease from Class A to Class B management from Sunday, according to a notice jointly issued by four Chinese government agencies on Saturday. 

For hospitalized patients, their personal payments after being covered by medical insurances will be paid through financial subsidies. The subsidies will be paid by local finance first, and then the central government will subsidize 60 percent of actual incurred expenses. Implementation will be based on the time patients are admitted to hospital and will last until March 31, 2023.

Support for grassroots medical institutions in rural areas and urban communities will be strengthened. No minimum or ceiling payment requirement will be placed for patients being treated for COVID-19 in designated grassroots medical institutions, and outpatient services will be reimbursed at a ratio of no less than 70 percent. Expenses related to COVID-19 treatment in other medical facilities will be covered in accordance with the standard of other Class B diseases, which will also be implemented until March 31, 2023. 

The temporary payment policy for dedicated medicines used in treating COVID-19 covered by medical insurance and included in the latest coronavirus diagnosis and treatment plan will be implemented until March 31. Provincial medical insurance authorities can add targeted medicines in response to potential shortages after reporting to the National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA). 

National medical insurance currently covers 660 medicines used for treating COVID-19 related symptoms including fever and cough, according to the Xinhua News Agency. 

In addition to the aforementioned measures, the notice covers a total of six aspects, which also highlights the importance to continuously offering internet medical services, enhancing health insurance coverage, streamlining administrative processes, and strengthening departmental coordination.  

China's national medical insurance system has deployed 20 billion yuan ($2.92 billion) of special funds targeting COVID-19 treatment since the beginning of the epidemic, Chen Jinfu, deputy director of NHSA said at a press conference in June 2022. 

The NHC announced on December 26 plans to downgrade the management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B, which will take effect on Sunday. 

Global Times