In 2003, the PRC launched the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NRCMS), a health insurance scheme run by counties, to address the high out-of-pocket expenditures for health care in rural areas. Funding for NRCMS is provided by central and local governments on a per capita basis (CNY20 in 2003, CNY80 in 2009) and rural residents contribute a fixed amount on a voluntary basis (CNY10 in 2003, CNY20 in 2009). NRCMS has made great progress; in 2008, it covered 100% of counties, and in 2009, it enrolled 833 million people, resulting in an enrollment rate of 94%. NRCMS represents a major step toward a rural health financing system that is more equitable, through reducing out-of-pocket expenditures for health care, and also more efficient.
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