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Expatriates advised of major Chinese healthcare reforms

The Chinese government has announced plans to rollout universal healthcare for its 1.3 billion citizens over the new few years.

Coming as growing numbers of expatriates head to the Asian superpower for work in its growing economy, the state news agency has confirmed that China’s State Council has drawn up plans to spend some £85 billion over the next three years on the initiative.

This, it is hoped, will "make medical services more accessible and affordable for ordinary people", it was stated, with each citizen to be allotted an annual £12 for health costs from the start of next year.

While the majority of expatriates living in China currently live and work in special economic zones such as Hong Kong or Macau and continue to benefit from overseas health insurance, over the past few years, concerns have been raised about the rising cost of medical bills and the limited access to up-to-date medical services, a fact which prime minister Wen Jibao acknowledged at the meeting of the council, Xinhua reported.

At present, it is estimated that just two-thirds of the people living in China’s many cities have medical insurance, with this proportion as low as one in five in the countryside, while the Telegraph has reported that some 177 million people are now suffering from high blood pressure as a result of work-related stress.

The news comes as an estimated 500 million people migrate from China’s cities to the countryside in order to celebrate the annual Spring Festival.

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