HANGZHOU, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate, on Wednesday launched a health insurance product for seniors aged between 60 and 70.
The new product is an extended version of Ant Financial's online healthcare platform Xiang Hu Bao, launched in October 2018.
The company said on Wednesday that by April 30, Xiang Hu Bao has registered 57 million users and helped 36 users get insurance payouts to cover their medical fees.
Unlike traditional insurance product, Ant Financial's health insurance offered through its online payment platform Alipay requires no premiums. Users are free to sign up. It functions like a collective. When a member suffers from an illness, other members contribute evenly to payouts.
The platform has established an online "jury panel" to examine and approve applications. It needs a majority of the jury's votes to pass a payout application.
The company said the old-age version of Xiang Hu Bao offers payouts of up to 100,000 yuan (14,700 U.S. dollars) if a member is diagnosed with cancer.
By the end of 2018, China has 250 million citizens aged over 60, accounting 17.9 percent of the country's total population. There is a big demand for health insurance, especially among the senior and elderly population.
Guo Jinlong, director of the Research Center for Insurance and Economic Development of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said elderly with relatively high risks of serious illness usually find it hard to get access to commercial health insurance. Health insurance products for them usually come with restrictions and higher price tags.
He said Ant Financial provides a new form of insurance like a mutual fund, which helps lower the threshold and reduces the risk through members' mutual assistance.