China has issued a temporary reimbursement policy to ensure patients with pneumonia caused by the newly discovered coronavirus, called 2019-nCoV, will receive timely and thorough treatment, reported the Xinhua News Agency.
According to the National Healthcare Security Administration, expenses incurred for medicine and medical services needed for treating the pneumonia will be completely covered by medical insurance funds.
In addition, medical insurance departments will pay for expenses incurred in the treatment of the disease in advance to lessen financial pressures on hospitals.
Before this latest announcement, 60-90% of basic medical costs are reimbursed by basic medical insurance systems in China. The reimbursement ratio varies with location as the , the medical reimbursement system is operated based on prefecture-level administrative areas.
The number of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases has risen to over 540 and the death toll to 17, according to health authorities yesterday. Seven of the confirmed cases were diagnosed abroad while all the deaths were in Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital. The city is where the first illnesses from coronavirus were reported in late December.
Health officials confirmed earlier this week that the disease can be spread between humans after finding two cases of people in Guangdong province who had not been to Wuhan.
Meanwhile, the Beijing office of China Life Insurance, the country’s second biggest insurer by market value, has suspended business travel to Wuhan and asked employees to avoid an area within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the city, according to a memo seen by Bloomberg News. Those who have been to Wuhan or nearby should work remotely for at least seven days before returning to office. Other major corporations operating in China are also limiting travel.