Learn about the Healthcare System & Insurance Options for Expats in Macau
The vibrant city of Macau is located 60 kilometers south-west of Hong Kong. It is a unique administrative region of China. On the international platform, Macau and Hong Kong fall under China’s ‘one country, two systems’ governance. The recent inauguration of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge connects the two cities and brings them closer. Another link that connects the two cities is its healthcare system. Here’s what you need to know about the Macau healthcare system.
A former Portuguese hub, Macau is one of the most populous cities in the world. However, there is a rise in healthcare concerns. Getting a comprehensive international health insurance plan for you and everyone traveling with you will save you any medical hassle in Macau. The CDC provides details about vaccinations to get before departing to Macau.
Overview of Healthcare System
Being a highly populous city, it doesn’t undermine the healthcare of the country. The standard of healthcare of Macau is comparable to Hong Kong. The majority of the medical staff, including doctors and their assistants, speak the English language fluently. An amalgamation of public and private hospitals ensures that they cater to all types of illnesses and medical injuries. We advise travelers and expats to opt for an international health insurance plan before making a move to the country. You must ensure that the policy also covers medical evacuation at the Macanese or Hong Kong clinics and hospitals.
How the Macau Healthcare System Works for Expats
Macau residents and expats with a valid ID get free access to medical services. These services are available at the government-funded healthcare clinics and public hospitals. However, it is pretty common for patients from Macau to be medically transferred to hospitals in Hong Kong. Despite being countries under the Special Administrative Regions (SARs) of China, the coverage for healthcare dramatically varies.
China has a ‘one country, two systems’ principle, which describes the governance of Macau and Honk Kong. As such, you would still have to for medical services in Hong Kong. Accessing private healthcare and opting for hospitalization in Macau is quite expensive. A one-day fee at a public hospital in Hong Kong can easily go beyond USD 600. Hence, expats in Macau should secure a private international health insurance policy that extends to both Macau and Hong Kong.
Public Healthcare in Macau
The government of Macau funds the public healthcare system. Due to the size of the country, there is only one public hospital in Macau that provides free medical care to its residents and expats alike. The government-funded Conde S. Januario hospital offers 24-hour emergency care to the citizens and has the provision to provide a variety of outpatient care. Apart from public hospitals, numerous public clinics are spread throughout the City of Macau. It offers free healthcare services for residents who hold ID cards. These public clinics provide healthcare facilities for children, students, and adults. Standard outpatient care includes consultations, health education, oral health, family planning, prenatal care, and traditional Chinese medicine, etc.
Private Healthcare in Macau
There are two most popular private hospitals in Macau. The Kiang Wu Hospital offers a variety of medical services such as inpatient care, outpatient care, specialist treatment, and emergency services that are commonly available at the private hospitals of the region. But as is true for any other private hospital, the healthcare services are not free and rather expensive for residents and especially for non-residents.
The Macau University of Science & Technology Hospital, located in Cotai, also functions as a teaching facility for the students of the University’s Faculty of Chinese Medicine and the Faculty of Health Sciences. The hospital offers a vast range of medical treatment that includes both Western medicine and Chinese practices. Macau does not have a Western-style medical school. Doctors who are seeking to qualify the Western medicine and practice it need to do so outside the city.
There are also numerous private clinics throughout the city of Macau. These clinics have a provision to offer outpatient care. Many of the clinics have doctors trained in Western medicine and are proficient in speaking English and other languages along with Mandarin.
Emergency medical services in Macau
Seeking private care in the country is a costly affair, especially when you factor in the cost of paying for accommodation in the hospital. Subsequent checkups can also lead you to Hong Kong, where without a Hong Kong ID card, you may end up paying considerably higher rates. Since the government subsidizes the public healthcare system in Macau, it is easy to access medical services even during an emergency.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Finding medication and pharmacies shouldn’t be a problem in Macau as there are many pharmacies in the city. Pharmacies carry both traditional Chinese and Western medicines. You can also purchase over-the-counter medication at notable health and beauty chains.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Macau
If you are a global citizen, expat, or a digital nomad traveling to Macau, we advise buying an international health insurance policy. While some policies may only provide coverage in Macau, expats must opt for the ones that include Hong Kong as well. It is also vital to include overseas medical evacuation and airlift in your policy in the event of a medical emergency. Some of the best international insurance plans for the country are offered by leading companies like Cigna Global and Allianz International. These insurance plans are, generally, accepted by the public and private hospitals