China Expanding Insurance Coverage for Catastrophic Illness

China’s government plans to expand health insurance for catastrophic illnesses to cover more than 20 million people by the end of 2018, Premier Li Keqiang announced in March 2018. More than 17 million people were covered by the program at the end of 2017. Most Chinese are covered by basic national health insurance, but the government has expressed concern that the more than 30 million Chinese who live below the poverty line are vulnerable to financial disaster in the event of serious illness. The government is expanding the role of commercial insurance companies in catastrophic illness, or IPCD, programs, which are mostly operated at the prefectural level. IPCD provides an additional 50-70 percent reimbursement rate for expenses not covered by basic insurance.