A shot in the arm for seniors' insurance program
Shanghai's insurance program for senior citizens needing long-term nursing care will be extended to the entire Yangtze River Delta region this year as civil affairs authorities in Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces announced on Tuesday they would increase cooperation in the senior care sector.
The program targets people 60 and older who need long-term care at home, in nursing homes and in hospitals and are covered by public medical insurance.
Under the plan, those in the program will receive nursing services in other parts of the region with extended payments, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.
In addition, senior care service agencies in the region will continue offering "cross-city" services for senior citizens as another 25,000 beds will be earmarked to accommodate seniors in the region this year, providing more senior care options for the elderly in the delta, according to Zhu Qinhao, director of the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau.
Last year, 57 senior care service providers in 20 cities in the delta region earmarked more than 25,000 beds for those requiring cross-city senior care services.
The first healthcare town in the Yangtze River Delta region was established in Dongtai, Jiangsu Province last year.
With a total investment of 70 billion yuan (US$10.84 billion), the town covering 9.7 square kilometers in its first phase can accommodate 150,000 residents.
By the end of 2020, 13 districts in Shanghai had inked memorandums of understanding with 27 cities, districts or counties in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces to provide senior care services, as well as culture and tourism, smart senior care, senior care service standards and senior care service exchanges.
Under the enhanced cooperation mechanism this year, all 16 districts in Shanghai will partner with 30 cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces to provide senior care cooperation.
"Areas such as training professionals in the senior care industry, caring for seniors with cognitive disorders and senior care services in the countryside are highlighted in the cooperation with the establishment of joint platforms in the region to promote high-level development of the senior care industry in the Yangtze River Delta," said Zhu.
So far, 43 colleges in the delta region have created majors related to senior care.
At the end of 2019, the senior population age 60 or above in the delta region reached 46.77 million, or 21.75 percent of the population.
The region has 7,928 senior care homes with 1.68 million beds.