Friday, 23 November 2012

Chinese people lack crucial knowledge on health insurance

Nanjing residents have little or no knowledge of medical insurance

by Michael Woodhead
Most people in China know little about health insurance, despite the government planning a move towards an insurance-based healthcare system, a Nanjing surrey suggests.
Researchers surveyed more than 1000 households in Nanjing and found that even those people who were  insured had limited knowledge about their health insurance schemes.
Their findings showed that people who had chosen to be insured were more likely to have accurate knowledge of their plan than those were automatically covered. People who had recently sought medical care had better knowledge of their insurance plans than those who were healthy or did not seek care in the same period. This suggests that the level of consumer information was positively influenced by respondents' motivation to obtain relevant information.
The researchers say that adequate consumer information is a crucial pre-condition before changing to a health insurance-based health system.
"The results from [our study] demonstrate that the current level of consumer information about health insurance is low," they say.
"We conclude that the level of consumer information is currently insufficient in China. If the Chinese government is determined to adopt market mechanisms in the healthcare sector, it should take the lead in making valid and reliable information publicly available and easily accessible."

Read more: International Journal of Health Planning

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