In late 2006, the Chinese government appointed a high-level inter-ministerial commission—composed of fourteen government agencies, co-chaired by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Health—to develop a blueprint for China’s healthcare system. One party to that process, China’s Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), has developed a program of cooperation with its U.S. counterpart, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). To provide input to policymaking, representatives of CIRC, NAIC, private insurers in China and the United States, as well as Chinese and American scholars of health insurance gathered in Yichang, Hubei, PRC, on 18-19 June 2007, for a joint seminar on the role of commercial health insurance in the Chinese and U.S. healthcare systems.
The first section of this field report provides a brief description of China’s health care reforms in the past decades. The second section highlights the progress and challenges to date in developing commercial health insurance in China, and the final section summarizes the recommendations that the NAIC Commissioners provided to CIRC in 2007 at this critical juncture in China’s health policy reforms.