Millions more workers covered by insurance
Students at Shanxi University, Taiyuan, receive free COVID-19 vaccinations on campus. [Photo by Wu Liuhong for China Daily]
For many residents in Shanxi, 2021 was a year that gave them a deepened sense of gain, happiness and security, thanks to an enhanced social security system.
This was especially true for Li Ming, a delivery man working in the provincial capital of Taiyuan.
He said when began to work with his company two years ago, he was only offered accident insurance.
But last year, his company promised to offer him other insurances like a pension fund for retirement and medical care insurance. It did so according to a new regulation issued by the provincial government that requires businesses to extend insurance coverage for their employees.
"That means I can have a pension after I retire so I will no longer need to worry about the costs of healthcare," Li said.
According to the Shanxi Department of Human Resources and Social Security, the three basic insurances sponsored by both businesses and governments－pension for retirees, unemployment insurance and workplace accident insurance－were extended to cover 26.45 million people, 5 million people and 6.39 million people.
It is worth mentioning that, more than 95 percent of Shanxi's residents, or 32.43 million, were covered by fundamental medical care insurance. Such a medical care insurance system was also supplemented by other initiatives like a special fund for severe diseases and an assistance fund for people with financial difficulties, ensuring that all the residents in Shanxi can be covered by a comprehensive medical care insurance umbrella sponsored by both the government and social entities.
Liu Ting, a resident in Taiyuan, said she was glad her child and aging parents could enjoy better medical services thanks to the enhanced medical care insurance.
"In the past, the medical care insurance for my child and parents only covered the costs when they were hospitalized," Liu said. "But last year, I found that the costs of outpatient services could also be reimbursed."
As a means to address the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shanxi began to offer free vaccinations for all its residents in 2021.
According to the Shanxi Health Commission, more than 27 million people had been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov 1, 2021.
Wu Jia contributed to this story.