China Rejects Claims of Inadequate Health Insurance Funds Amid Public Complaints

China’s medical authorities have repeatedly responded to complaints that there is not enough money in the country’s health fund due to repeated testing for COVID-19 and an overcrowding in hospitals due to the outbreak.

In a disclosure to ease public concerns, China’s National Healthcare Security Administration (NHSA) on July 23, said the country’s health insurance fund is black.

Given the Chinese government’s history of corruption, it is not uncommon for government medical officials to disclose the nature of the funding.

The NHSA’s disclosure was prompted by some Chinese internet users asking why certain drugs were removed from the recall list by some local governments. Was it because there was not enough money in the health insurance fund?

In a statement, health officials said the fund “was crushed [last year]and less,” adding that “the amount of money and spending is related to the growth of the economy,” according to the Reuters.

It said the fund received a total investment (including maternity insurance) of 2.88 trillion yuan (about $432 billion) and spent 2.4 trillion yuan (about $360 billion) in 2021.

However, public concerns remain as recent changes in health care require people to pay more of the same or sometimes less.

Medical insurance is one of the five mandatory insurance policies in China’s Social Security System, where monthly contributions are made jointly by employees and employers. The other four compulsory insurances are the pension fund, unemployment insurance, industrial injury insurance, and maternity insurance. Workers may be exempted from paying industrial injury and maternity insurance.

Although the NHSA tried to reassure the public by revealing the health care fund’s income in 2021, questions and concerns remain about the accuracy of the figures, such as why the Guangdong health authorities extended the duration of the health insurance.

Insurance Period Extended

At the end of June, the Healthcare Security Administration of Guangdong Province changed the age requirement at the time of delivery: 30 years for men and 25 years for women workers by January 1, 2030.

Before the change, Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, had only a 10-year payment period for workers who entered the hospital before 2014 or a 15-year payment period after 2014.

With the long contribution period, some residents of Guangdong are worried that they will not be able to complete the required contributions 25 or 30 years before retirement. Full coverage is one of the prerequisites for free health care in retirement; Otherwise, people must continue to pay health insurance premiums even after retirement.

Health officials in Guangdong said that extending the duration of the treatment is an achievement” [new] NHSA requirements [and that the province] It was not the first and the last district to do this.”

Albert Song, an economic commentator and expert on the Chinese economy, told The Epoch Times that the health insurance fund may be in the dark, but “it’s a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul,” paying off one debt by paying off another. .

“Regional disunity is a very common issue in China’s economic development. The southeast coast is more developed than the northwest regions of the country due to higher incomes and higher incomes. “Beijing should give money to poor or less developed areas,” Song said.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is taking steps to slow down the deficit [when they can’t pay out those medical coverages]; one example is extending the delivery time of the fund.

“Recently, the 2021 median wage data was released. The median wage is closely related to the contributions of the Social Security Fund. Although these figures show the increase in wages, they are not directly related to the income of ordinary people because the wages of civil servants and other public companies are high very much.”

Although the NHSA says that the health insurance fund for 2021 was in the black, Bingwen Zheng, a Chinese researcher and analyst, said in March that the fund will be in the red in 2024.

Zhang is the director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, one of China’s top research institutions.

He said China’s workers’ health insurance fund will have a problem in two years, according to forecasts. He also explained that the number of retirees will greatly increase the need for health insurance funds.

Follow up

Kathleen Li has contributed to The Epoch Times since 2009 and focuses on China-related topics. He is an engineer, practicing engineering and construction in Australia.