More than 60,000 Chinese orphans received free health insurance contracts on Monday as a gift for Children's Day.
The orphans from Beijing, Tianjin, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and the provinces of Henan and Qinghai are the latest beneficiaries of a program sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) and the China Children Insurance Foundation (CCIF).
The insurance, paid for with donations, will be provided for the children for at least one year from Monday. The scheme is designed for the children of poor families and MCA-registered orphans under the age of 18.
"We are happy and proud to say that our program, with the help of our donors, has covered a total of 440,000 orphans, nearly 80 percent of those that are officially acknowledged," said CCIF Managing Director Dr. Heidi Hu.
Each insured child is insured for 100,000 yuan (16,339 U.S. dollars) at a premium of 50 yuan a year to cover the cost of treating 12 critical illnesses, including malignant tumors and conditions requiring organ or stem cell transplants.
The contracts are usually renewed annually, but the CCIF has managed to prolong the insured period to three years in some regions, according to Hu
"Based on the amount of money donated, we are trying to help more children with a longer insured period," she said.
Since the insurance program was launched in July 2009, the CCIF has distributed more than 720,000 insurance contracts to children in more than 20 provinces and regions, from the quake-hit southwestern province of Sichuan to the plateau areas of Qinghai and Tibet.
Hu said the organization received more small, private donations this year, mainly through the Internet. Previous years' donations were mainly made by large enterprises.
Insured children will be notified about their coverage by local civil affairs departments, which will act on behalf of the CCIF in distributing insurance ID cards.
China has more than 570,000 orphans officially registered. However, the actual number is believed to be bigger, as some may have been overlooked in remote areas or if they have moved to cities with migrant worker relatives.
"We're working with civil departments across the country to search for possible insurants, and hopefully to have all orphans covered in the near future," Hu said.
To guarantee transparency, donation information can be checked online at baoxian.cctf.org.cn, the doctor added.
Editor: Lucia Su