Beijing will include more than a dozen fertility services in a government-backed medical insurance plan for the Chinese capital, state media reported on Monday, backing those seeking to have babies with a birthrate in China at an all-time high. A total of 16 medical services using assisted reproductive technology (ART) will be covered by the city’s public insurance starting March 26, in a bid to “take proactive measures to support fertility”, according to the Beijing Daily.
The new reproductive coverage could help reduce out-of-pocket expenses and benefit low-income couples looking to have babies and those with little or no access to private medical insurance. Official data showed China’s birth rate fell to a record low in 2021, continuing a downward trend that led the national government last year to start allowing couples to have up to three children.
China will strive to achieve an “appropriate” birth rate, Premier Li Keqiang said at the start of the annual parliamentary meeting in March last year. China faces what experts call a “demographic time bomb” as its elderly population grows while its workforce shrinks due to declining births, in part due to a policy of l only child in place for around four decades before being abandoned in 2016.
China will raise the legal retirement age “gradually”, Li said last year. The eastern province of Jiangsu said last month that from March, employees eligible for state pensions will be able to apply for deferred retirement for at least a year from the statutory retirement age.
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