Home / Opinion / Opinion Line

Social security cards get new lease on life

China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-07 07:12

Social security cards get new lease on life

A nurse explains how to claim reimbursement from the national medical insurance program in Longxi County No 1 People's Hospital in Gansu province.[Photo/Xinhua]

CHINA'S THIRD-GENERATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY CARDS, which are reportedly capable of contactless operation and connected to many online service platforms, will be piloted in some regions this year. Guangming Daily commented on Tuesday:

Designed to guarantee all holders enjoy full rights to employment and medical insurance at every stage of their lives, social security cards are by their nature versatile and should be able to take care of citizens from the cradle to the grave.

However, most of their more than 100 basic functions are underused, because some can only be used locally and some only according to several preconditions. The healthcare insurance, for instance, remains idle most of the time until the card holder is hospitalized.

More important, the rise of third-party mobile payment platforms such as Alipay in recent years allows people to make appointments with a doctor, pay electricity bills, even purchase insurance without enlisting the help of their social security cards. For many, it is normal that they forget where they left the social security cards or simply let them gather dust.

That is why the new social security cards are equipped with multiple, targeted functions and connected to more social services, ranging from micropayments to public transport and library use. In the foreseeable future more of their nonfinancial functions will be eligible for use across the country.

But keeping the increasingly digitized social security cards from being exploited by fraudsters requires greater technical and supervisory support. As card issuers, the human resources and social security authorities at all levels need to step up technical scrutiny to ensure the cards are not misused by criminals. On their part, supervisors and enforcers have to hold all criminals accountable no matter if the money they swindle out of the victim is a large or only a small amount.

Most Viewed in 24 Hours