Can the New Cooperative Medical Scheme promote rural elders' access to health-care services?

Baozhen Dai, Jianzai Zhou, Y. John Mei, Bei Wu, Zongfu Mao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The aim of the present study was to examine the impact of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on rural elders' access to health-care services. Articles were identified from PubMed, Elsevier, Wiley, EBSCO, EMBASE, SCI Expanded, ProQuest, Google, and CNKI which is the most informative database in Chinese, with the search terms "rural", "China", "old", "older", or "elder", "elderly", or "aged", "aging", "medical insurance", or "community-based medical insurance", or "cooperative medical scheme". Related websites and yearbooks were searched as well. The NCMS has improved the health-care utilization of rural elders, and they have the highest satisfaction with it among all age groups. However, affordability difficulty remained the common barrier for the rural elderly to access quality health care, in spite of the special considerations given to the rural elderly, such as premium remission and free check-ups. Faced with ever-growing health challenges, some impoverished rural elders with poor physical health and functional limitations may lack sufficient access to basic health-care services. Followed by the provider payment reform initiated by the NCMS, a stricter regulation for doctors' prescriptions, clinical practice and disease management is needed to promote rural elders' access to health-care services. Health management for rural elders can be expected for the NCMS to promote rural elders' health-care access once a better coordination between the NCMS and health-care system can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-245
Number of pages7
JournalGeriatrics and Gerontology International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011



  • China
  • Elderly
  • Health-care system
  • New Cooperative Medical Scheme
  • Rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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