80,000 Chinese orphans get free health insurance

Beijing, May 31 (IANS) About 80,000 orphans were given free insurance contracts Friday to cover the costs of treating 12 critical illnesses, an official said.

The latest beneficiaries are from the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Qinghai and Henan provinces, reported Xinhua.

An insurance fund that was raised through donations will be accessible for one year starting from June 1, according to Heidi Hu, managing director of the China Children Insurance Foundation (CCIF).

"The insurance contracts are our best gift for them (the orphans)," she said.

Unlike previous years in which funds was mainly raised by large enterprises, Hu said online micro-donations now account for a greater share of the fund and have helped to keep the project sustainable.

The foundation launched the joint program in cooperation with the Ministry of Civil Affairs in 2009 to provide free insurance for the children of poor families and 712,000 orphans under the age of 18 who are registered with it.

"We have distributed about 750,000 insurance contracts to children in more than 20 provincial regions, including the quake-hit province of Sichuan and the plateau areas of Qinghai and Tibet," Hu said.

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