expat healthcare

Asian Healthcare System and Insurance Options for Expatriates

While healthcare is less expensive in some parts of Asia, several Asian countries have very costly healthcare services that are comparable with the United States. Most expatriates moving to Asia will opt for global healthcare as they will not be covered by local health plans or those plans are not able to cover their requirements or offer adequate access to medical care. In many parts of Asia, there are issues such as communication problems, longer waiting periods, little or no privacy and less sophisticated equipment. There may be significant differences in the quality of service and medical expenses incurred between treatments received at public and private healthcare facilities in different parts of Asia.

Private healthcare facilities in Asia have English-speaking physicians, state-of-the-art testing equipment, and little-to-no waiting time. Due to the standard of such care, obtaining an expat health insurance plan for Asia can provide peace of mind and excellent access to care locally and regionally. For certain complicated surgeries or specialty services in Asia, it may be recommended that one travel abroad for better treatment. A comprehensive expat health insurance plan can take care of all the incurred expenses.

Healthcare Systems in Various Asian Countries for Expatriates

China –  IndonesiaMalaysiaSingapore – Thailand – Vietnam

Understanding the Asian Healthcare System – Information for Expatriates in Asia

Most countries in Asia have some form of public healthcare plans for their citizens. The effectiveness of these plans varies from country to country. Japan, Singapore, and South Korea are some countries in Asia where the healthcare system continues to maintain consistently high standards. China and Indonesia are countries where the healthcare system is exceptional in major cities via private care, but medical care drops off once you start to get into rural and remote regions. Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar fall into the category of nations where the state of healthcare is deficient. Good expat health insurance plans can help avoid any kind of strain for those visiting these countries and rural regions.

Certain commonly used drugs are accessible from pharmacies in many Asian countries without any prescription. Also, if you are comfortable with the local language, you can easily buy many kinds of non-prescriptive drugs for just a few dollars.  Some expats in Asia may self-insure out-patient care and medicine if they live in a country where such costs are minimal.

Emergency Assistance in Asia

You can seek emergency medical support by calling up the following numbers:

Hong Kong   – 999

India              – 102 or 112

Indonesia     – 118 or 119

Israel             – 101

China             – 120

Japan             – 119

Oman            – 9999

Qatar             – 999

Singapore     – 995

South Korea  – 119 or 911

Thailand        – 1669

Turkey   – 112

For details on hospitals across Asia that often serve expats, click HERE.

If you have a comprehensive international insurance cover, the insurance firm will generally take care of all your medical expenses. In case they are unable to do it right away, you may need to pay the bill by yourself and collect the receipt from the hospital. You can then take this receipt to the insurance firm and file your reimbursement claim with them directly. Most insurance companies will want you to contact as soon as possible if you are admitted to a hospital in Asia.

Benefits of a Good Healthcare Plan for Expats in Asia

  • Option to pick a healthcare plan according to your need
  • Access to better facilities and treatment across the globe
  • The reduced financial burden for the treatment of critical and non-critical health problems
  • Reduced waiting time from private hospitals that often treat expatriates
  • Ability to access medical care outside of Asia

Health Insurance for International Citizens in Asia

There are several healthcare plans available for expats in most of the Asian countries. If you do not have access to them, you can go for a comprehensive global healthcare plan instead. These are mostly private international medical plans that help you deal with all kinds of healthcare expenses in Asia as well as across the globe. These plans also come with the option to change your host country. Being an international citizen of Asia, you can choose from the best international health insurance policies, such as Cigna Global Medical. It’s always recommended that you get one plan to secure yourself even before moving overseas from your home country and not get burdened due to unexpected health expenses abroad.