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Beijing's disabled provided with free accident insurance

Date: 2012-08-13

The Beijing Disabled Persons Federation gave the capital's 410,000 disabled people a special gift on Friday in the form of group accident insurance.

The program aims to improve the social security network for the disabled and help them to integrate better with the outside world, federation officials said.

The new insurance policy allows disabled Beijing residents to be covered by a maximum payment of 50,000 yuan ($7,860) for accidental death or disability when using public transportation tools, visiting museums and other public places open to the disabled for free, and participating in officially organized social activities.

Meanwhile, they will be insured for a maximum medical benefit of 10,000 yuan.

Wu Wenyan, president of the federation, announced the insurance at the signing ceremony with the PICC Property and Casualty Company Ltd, an insurance company based in Beijing on Friday.

Zhao Yunsheng, the federation's director of rights protection, said the municipal government has pledged 18 million yuan to support the project for the next three years.

It is expected to be of long-term benefit for the disabled population in Beijing, said Zhao, who is in charge of running the project.

The federation spent about 6 million yuan for one year of accident insurance for the city's disabled, or Beijing residents with government-issued ID cards to show their disabilities, he said.

"We are exploring the new model of using commercial tools to improve the social welfare system for people with disabilities, and if it works out well, we will receive more financing from the government to continue the policy and expand the insurance coverage," he said.

The busy traffic and thick crowds in public venues in metropolitan cities such as Beijing pose more potential risks for the disabled when they go out for social activities, which is why the introduction of accident insurance for this group is necessary, he said.

In the past few years, Beijing has done a great deal to encourage more disabled people to go out.

All parks, seven museums and 173 tourist attractions, including the Forbidden City, have removed admission fees for the disabled.

Since March, the disabled can take buses and the blind can use the subway for free.

"We aim to encourage more disabled people to go out," Zhao said.

Jiang Donghuan, 44, who became disabled from rheumatoid arthritis in adolescence, said she was happy about the free insurance policy but urged the government to try harder to create a barrier-free society for the disabled.

"It's impossible for me to go out without two people's assistance. First, the residential building where I live has no elevators, and the 'barrier-free buses' are limited and usually too crowded. Most taxi drivers shy away from people like me because passengers in wheelchairs are an inconvenience to them," she said.(China Daily)