National Health Insurance Development in China from 2004 to 2011: Coverage versus Benefits

Zhang, Yan; Tang, Wenxi; Zhang, Xiang; Zhang, Yaoguang; Zhang, Liang
May 2015
PLoS ONE;May2015, Vol. 10 Issue 5, p1
Academic Journal
Background: The simultaneous improvement of the security capability of China Health Insurance System and its development in the last decade remains uncertain. This study measures the status and trends of reimbursement levels of the China Health Insurance System, as well as to offer policy advice to subsequent insurance reforms. Methods: The National Reimbursement Ratio was created to determine the reimbursement level of the national health insurance system based on total health expenditure and the covered population. Chinese total health expenditure data from 2004 to 2011 were extracted from China’s Health Statistics according to the standards of the International Classification for Health Accounts by Healthcare Financing. Results: In 2011, the medical expenditure per capita in China was USD 130.95 and the National Reimbursement Ratio was 26.39%. The National Reimbursement Ratio showed an intense transition from 2004 to 2011, with a sharp decrease from 98.51% in 2004 to 22.44% in 2009, and then a small increase to 26.39% in 2011. Conclusion: The National Reimbursement Ratio was effective in revealing the reimbursement level of the national health insurance system and in predicting its trends. The challenge to China’s healthcare reform is to switch from increasing insurance coverage to guaranteeing a steady increase in government input and building a powerful supervision mechanism.


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