Developing Cancer Care Health Insurance

Partnership objectives

  1. Team up with local insurance companies to help them develop health policies that will cover cancer treatment and care.
  2. Organize seminars, client forums and cancer awareness campaigns to educate insurers and the wider population about how cancer can be detected early and treated.

Only 6% of the Chinese population has a health insurance policy that covers the costs of cancer treatment. Only 6% of the Chinese population has a health insurance policy that covers the costs of cancer treatment. Copyright Roche

What are the health needs and challenges?

Like many countries, China is facing a sharp increase in cancer rates. Cancer is now the number one killer in urban areas and the second leading cause of death in the country as a whole. An ageing population, pollution, heavy smoking and the adoption of a Western lifestyle mean that cancer will remain a major health issue in China for the foreseeable future.

As there is limited public reimbursement or private health insurance in China, most cancer patients have to pay themselves for their treatment. A full course of some cancer medicines can cost 10 times the average Chinese worker's annual income. Only 6% of the Chinese population has a health insurance policy that covers the costs of cancer treatment. Until recently, insurance policy pay-outs did not fund adequate medical care for cancer, and local insurance companies lacked the information to develop such policies.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Since 2007 Roche has worked with local insurance companies in China to develop and improve health insurance coverage for cancer. Through its worldwide contacts with hospitals, laboratories and healthcare networks, Roche provides local and global data on cancer treatment options and cost analysis to the insurance companies. This enables insurance companies to determine an appropriate pay-out for treatment and to launch affordable cancer insurance policies that cover the best available treatment, access to hospitals and doctors, and cancer education and support.

In addition, in association with the insurance companies and a number of third parties, Roche provides services such as cancer awareness and prevention programmes, treatment and care follow-up and support. Such seminars, client forums and cancer awareness campaigns are helping to educate insurers and the wider population about how cancer can be treated.

Working with multi-national companies to help them provide medical coverage for their employees is another activity undertaken with this partnership.

Future developments include the “Green Channel Access plan” which helps insured to get seen quicker by the relevant doctors. Roche is bringing insurers and hospitals together to develop this plan.

Summary of impact and forward looking information

Around 40 million oncology insurance policies have been sold in China thanks to collaborations between Roche and four re-insurers and 16 local insurance companies, including the three largest ones in the country. This model and associated learnings is being adapted and rolled out in over 20 Countries around the world.

Partnership information

Company(ies) Roche

Partner(s) AON, Local Chinese Insurers, SwissRe

Type of Partner(s) Other Business

Therapeutic Focus Non-Communicable Diseases, Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Breast Cancer, Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Childhood Cancers, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Differential Pricing, Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach, Research & Development - Innovative Funding Mechanisms, Research & Development - Operations Research

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, General population, Men, Women

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific

Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) China

Start Date 2007

More information Roche Access to Healthcare

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« With Roche on board, we will have exactly the help we need. »

Ryan Bi, Taikang Life Insurance