Beijing to subsidize accident insurance for elderly people

Updated: 2013-11-29 02:23

By Fan Feifei (China Daily)

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The Beijing municipal government has launched a program of subsidized accident insurance for elderly people in the city, the city's Civil Affairs Bureau said on Wednesday.

According to experts, the insurance policy will not only provide affordable cover for elderly people, but should also help reduce the number of compensation claims made by elderly people with faked or self-inflicted injuries, a phenomenon that has made headlines recently.

In announcing the program, the bureau said there are about 3 million people aged 60 and over in Beijing, and the insurance policies will allow them to claim compensation if they are injured by public vehicles or in public places, such as parks, museums and stadiums.

The bureau said the insurance program will be open to all people aged 60 and above in Beijing, as well as those between 50 and 60 who have officially retired.

The insurance policy is being provided by China Life Insurance, with subsidies provided by the city government, the first such arrangement in Beijing.

Those wishing to sign up for a policy will have to pay an annual premium of 17 yuan ($2.80), with a maximum of four policies allowed per person. The maximum payout per policy will be 50,000 yuan.

While most people will be required to pay for their insurance policies, an estimated 70,000 people falling into three particularly vulnerable categories will have their premiums paid for by the city government.

These categories are: people aged 60 and older in urban and rural areas who receive subsistence allowances; urban residents who have no income, cannot work and have nobody legally obliged to support them; and the elderly who have no children.

Li Hongbing, deputy director of the bureau, said the insurance policy could help reduce the number of cases in which elderly people claim compensation from others they falsely accuse of injuring them.

Recently, a 74-year-old woman in Sichuan province demanded compensation from the families of three children, claiming that the children had knocked her over. The local police concluded that the woman had fallen down on her own and that the children had merely helped her to her feet.

The woman's demands for compensation were ruled illegal and she was given a seven-day administrative detention, while her son was given a 10-day detention and ordered to pay a 500 yuan fine.

Li said such cases occur because the social security system does not provide sufficiently for the needs of the elderly.

Because of the high risks involved, there are few commercial insurance programs tailored to those aged 65 and above, he said, adding that the new system will help raise awareness of the risk of injury that elderly people daily face.

Zhu Chunming, a 67-year-old woman who once fell down an escalator in Beijing's Wangfujing Street, said the new accident insurance program seems like a good idea.

"The insurance policy is very practical and the fees are not too high. I'm thinking about buying it," she said.