2021 Chinese Health Economics Development Forum: Trends in Multi-tiered Insurance Programs

Fourth Chinese Health Economics Development Forum Event Poster

In 2009, China embarked on health reforms that would eventually expand coverage of its social health insurance (SHI) programs to approximately 96% of the population. To ensure the long-term financial sustainability of its social health insurance programs, China is assessing the package of services that should be covered under its SHI programs and considering the potential role of commercial insurance in providing supplementary coverage. The Fourth Chinese Health Economics Development Forum hosted by Wuhan University sought to explore the benefits and pitfalls of multi-tiered insurance schemes in general, as well as opportunities and challenges that China faces specifically.

Dr. Winnie Yip, Faculty Director of the Harvard China Health Partnership, joined TANG Qizhu, Vice President of Wuhan University; LU Yanqing, Vice President of Nanjing University; CHEN Dongsheng, Chairman of Taikang Insurance Group; and KONG Fanbin, Dean of the School of Government at Nanjing University, in opening the event. Since government and the market each exhibit strengths and weaknesses in providing health-related goods and services, Dr. Yip identified defining the role of government vis-a-vis the role of the market as the central question of the field of health economics. Similarly, developing a multi-tiered insurance scheme requires a continuous evaluation of insurance provision responsibilities that should be assumed by government and aspects that can be provided through market mechanisms.


  • Chinese-language news coverage of the event from Sina Finance is available here.
  • A Chinese-language WeChat event summary is available here.
  • Context on China’s recent health reforms, including the expansion of social health insurance program coverage, is available here.
  • Information on a similarly-themed forum hosted by HCHP partner Fudan University is available here.