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Healthy ageing in China: a major academic study by Peking University

China's population is ageing rapidly, with the number of persons aged 65 or more increasing from 88 million (7.0% share of total population) in 2000 to a projected 247 million (16.9%) by 2030, according to United Nations Population Division. Against this backdrop, Swiss Re Institute and Peking University (PKU) have cooperated on an in-depth academic research project into healthy ageing in China.

In 2016, the government initiated its national strategy of Healthy China 2030 to promote a healthy population. Significant progress has been made, but the project findings show there is still room to improve the health status of China’s middle-age and elderly populations. To achieve the targets of Healthy China 2030, the PKU project team recommends that the government further make healthy ageing a national strategy/programme, with a focus on whole life-cycle health management covering both physical and mental well-being.

All persons should be able to access high-quality and affordable treatment, and preventative, rehabilitative and long-term care (LTC) services. On how to fund life-cycle health management, the research suggests the government seek to increase public health and pension provisions, while also encouraging and providing a framework for the participation of commercial insurers in a multi-layered pension, medical and LTC insurance system. To alleviate the fiscal burden on public sector, the market is encouraged to provide supplemental services to increase the range and quality of healthcare services to complement state provisions. Public-private partnerships can facilitate more efficient allocation of resources in this endeavour.

Insurers can support healthy ageing in China as risk managers and as long-term institutional investors. They can provide comprehensive products covering healthcare, disease treatment, rehabilitative care and LTC services, and can help consumers manage longevity risk by developing commercial pension solutions. And, with a supportive fiscal and regulatory framework, they can provide capital for health care services and infrastructure.

Two versions of the report are available:

- A full-length version of the academic study undertaken by the Department of Risk Management and Insurance, School of Economics at PKU.

- A summary version of the report presenting the key takeaways of the study findings and related policy recommendations, including the role of the commercial insurance and private pensions. This is available in English and in Chinese on the following links:

  • Key takeaways on expanding health protection for the middle-age and elderly – English version
  • Key takeaways on expanding health protection for the middle-age and elderly – Chinese version

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