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80,000 orphans receive free health insurance

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-31 13:42

BEIJING - About 80,000 orphans were given free insurance contracts on Friday to cover the costs of treating 12 critical illnesses, as a joint insurance program supported by the government and a charity organization has expanded.

The latest beneficiaries are from the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Qinghai and Henan provinces.

An insurance fund that was raised through donations will be accessible for one year starting from June 1, or Children's Day, according to Dr Heidi Hu, managing director of the China Children Insurance Foundation (CCIF).

"The insurance contracts are our best gift for them (the orphans)," she said.

Differing from previous years, in which funds was mainly raised by large enterprises, Hu said online micro-donations now account for a greater share of the fund and have helped to keep the project sustainable.

The foundation launched the joint program in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) in 2009 to provide free insurance for the children of poor families and 712,000 orphans under the age of 18 who are registered with the MCA.

"We have distributed about 750,000 insurance contracts to children in more than 20 provincial regions, including the quake-hit province of Sichuan and the plateau areas of Qinghai and Tibet," Hu said.

Each insured child is covered for 100,000 yuan (about $16,181) at a premium of 50 yuan a year. The 12 major illnesses covered include malignant tumors, illnesses requiring organ or stem cell transplants, acute kidney failure, aplastic anemia, acute hepatitis and infantile paralysis, she said.

Insured children will be notified about their coverage by local civil affairs departments, which will act on behalf of the CCIF in distributing specially designed insurance cards, according to the doctor.

The foundation said that it hopes more businesses and members of the public will donate to the program.

To guarantee transparency in the insurance program's operation and management, Dr Hu said all donation information can be checked and verified online at baoxian.cctf.org.cn, a website hosted by the China Children and Teenagers' Fund, the parent foundation of the CCIF.

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