|A delegate speaks at the Sixth International Congress of Chinese Orthopaedic Association (COA) in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 2, 2011. Medical experts and leaders from the world's leading orthopaedic societies on Friday called for the improvement of health insurance programs and medical care for people in developing countries. (Xinhua/He Junchang)
BEIJING, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Medical experts and leaders from the world's leading orthopaedic societies on Friday called for the improvement of health insurance programs and medical care for people in developing countries.
"Health care should reach the unreached," said Professor H.K.T. Raza, president of the Asia Pacific Orthopaedic Association (APOP), at the Sixth International Congress of Chinese Orthopaedic Association (COA), which is running from Thursday to Sunday in Beijing.
"If we really want to improve people's well-being, we have to make health care available to those who have difficulty accessing it. Although that will probably be a very difficult task, we should try and do it gradually," said Professor K.M. Chan from the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that 1.27 billion Chinese, or 95 percent of the country's population, are covered by basic medical insurance programs.
However, private medical insurance accounts for less than 2 percent of the country's health care financing, while private insurance in other countries stands at an average of 20 percent.
"With the increasing demand for quality health care, there will be higher demand for commercial insurance. With more private health funding in the system, we can increase the quality," Prof. Chan said.
Government health care expenditures should be directed toward those who can't afford health care at all, while commercial insurance should cover the needs of those who can afford to purchase it, Prof. Chan said.
"We need to have different approaches combined together to revamp the current health insurance structure in China," he said.
"If you want to raise the quality of health care, you need to have the responsibility from the government, the individuals and the insurance system," he added.
While China may need to promote its commercial health insurance, in India, the situation is different. Though many medical tourists choose India as their destination for affordable care, health insurance is uncommon in the country.
While patients typically pay out of their own pockets for routine care, it is estimated that over 300 million Indians out of a population of 1.2 billion still live on less than one U.S. dollar per day.