The health insurance industry in China has been developing rapidly over the past twenty years. The national standard of living and healthcare facilities have also been significantly improved. Due to its economic and social reforms, urban areas in China have experienced higher living standards and the population of expatriates in China also kept up with the changes.
Healthcare Today in China
The healthcare system in China heavily dependent on location and resources. In urban areas such as Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, hospitals and medical facilities have high-end equipment. Whereas in rural areas and villages, healthcare centres only have basic equipment and facilities. Faced with the challenges of insufficient medical resources, China has been implementing healthcare reform in the past ten years including infrastructure development and new investment. These medical reforms will significantly improve operation in hospitals, healthcare insurance, and encourage new investment opportunities within the healthcare sector.
Public Hospitals and Private Clinics
Most hospitals in China are Mandarin based. Only a few of them in major cities might have English language services. Public hospitals in cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai can provide comprehensive health services, including medical education and regional research. Some of them have specialist health services and scientific research. However, these types of public hospitals are all very busy and crowded. This is because they don’t take appointments in advance. Expats who want to receive treatment from public hospitals in China must wait in line, register and pay the registration fee each time at the reception desk. Furthermore, most public hospitals in China will not accept expat medical insurance. This way, you will have to deposit medical costs before receiving any treatment and reimburse from your insurance company later.
Therefore, due to the inconsistency and inconvenience, public hospitals are not generally used by expats. Another option could be joint venture medical facilities and private clinics. These joint venture hospitals can be foreign-run in China. They usually match the standards of Western facilities, and medical staff are usually have received international training. Language won’t be an issue. However, medical treatment in these hospitals can be costly. Fortunately, the international and private clinics are more likely to accept expat health insurance from abroad. Therefore, it is very important for you to make sure that you are covered by expat health insurance.
Health Claim Costs are Increasing in China
It has been reported by our clients in China and global medical insurers operating there, that the medical costs of China have been increasing rapidly. The dramatic increase of wealthy individuals in China who prefer to obtain private medical treatment has meant that health costs for expatriates have also increased at a rapid pace. It is a matter of supply and demand, and health claims for the insurers with expats in China will continue to increase.
Why is Expat Health Insurance A Must?
If you plan to stay in China to work and live for some time, it is strongly suggested that you should obtain quality expat health insurance before departure. Though China is implementing healthcare reforms these days, medical facilities in many areas are very basic. Even in many major cities where satisfactory healthcare in public hospitals for expats are available, the method of payment and the quality of medical treatment may still be inadequate. For the popular choice of foreign-run hospitals, expats are usually required to make payment in advance before receiving medical treatment. It can be very expensive for emergency treatment and medications in most of the international hospitals.
With a comprehensive expat health insurance plan, you are covered for medical expenses, hospitalization and treatments, medicines and emergency evacuations – which are all you need to stay in China. If you are going for a short visit to China, then most people will purchase travel medical insurance for up to one year. Some Chinese embassies require proof of health insurance before issuing visas especially if you are an international student. If you are planning to reside in China, it is critical that you purchase an international health insurance plan that will not only cover you in China but globally as well.
Expat Financial offers several different international health insurance plans for expatriates of any nationality across the world. We also offer excellent service before and after you purchase your international health insurance plan. Our firm is also very experienced in sourcing group plans for multinational firms with expats in China. If you have questions about our international medical insurance plans or if you want to discuss your needs and produce a customized quote, please contact us or complete the quote form.