China is a very exotic and appealing country. And most of the foreigners who plan to move there often forget to get information about the medical system.
The reality is that, in China, health insurance is a must for any expat.
Without good coverage, one would be exposed to important expenses and other issues in the case of an accident or disease.
Medical Insurance in China for Foreigners
How to Seek Medical Assistance in China?
Hospitals are at the heart of the Chinese health system. Office-based medicine is not very developed, even for general medicine.
Foreigners do not use public hospitals for treatment, as they are generally not up to Western standards.
Instead, they prefer to use the VIP departments that some of them offer. Or go to private hospitals.
This way, they get better service in more modern facilities. But their high cost makes it necessary to get expat medical insurance in China.
Affiliation With China’s Public Health Insurance Is Mandatory
A social insurance law was put in place in 2011. And foreigners working in the country are required to join China’s public health insurance system.
However, this coverage is limited and does not provide satisfactory benefits.
Taking out a private health insurance policy allows you to be better covered, but does not exempt you from joining the local health insurance system.
Should I Get Private Health Insurance in China?
The Price of Medical Care in China
The prices of private health care vary according to the establishments. You can count on 25 dollars for a general practitioner in VIP service. And from 30 to more than 100 in an international hospital.
You will have to pay twice as much for a specialist, and about 700 euros for a night in hospital.
Medicines are also more expensive than in the United States and most parts of Europe.
And if you don’t have any insurance, you will have to pay all these sums yourself. Good medical insurance in China should cover all the expenses and hospitalization costs.
Dental care should not be neglected either, as it is expensive in this country.
The Advantages of Having Expat Medical Insurance in China
While in China, health insurance with an international company is recommended for foreigners.
It grants you assistance from professionals that know perfectly the problems of health abroad.
And also comfort and simplicity. Because the contract, the procedures, and the exchanges with the advisors are done in English.
International health insurance also follows the insured out of China, during stays back home, or in any country of the coverage zone.
Repatriation Assistance, an Essential Element in Your Medical Insurance in China
International medical insurance in China for foreigners offers interesting guarantees. For example, sending medicines that are sometimes unavailable locally.
Or the possibility of subscribing to repatriation and evacuation assistance.
Repatriation is never out of the question when staying abroad. In China, private hospitals are concentrated in the big cities, and rural areas are poorly equipped with infrastructures.
It is therefore sometimes necessary to be transported to another location to be treated. And this has a cost that good health insurance can cover.
China’s Health Insurance Market: Options Available
China’s Health Insurance From the 1st Dollar/Euro
One of the most well-known options in China’s health insurance market is a 1st dollar/euro policy.
As its name indicates, it takes care of all the health expenses from the first dollar spent.
This solution is often recommended among expats. It generally offers good value for money and is particularly flexible.
There are different formulas available with different levels of coverage. And it is possible to add interesting guarantees such as luggage insurance in case of theft, in addition to the medical services.
There is a compulsory medical questionnaire at the time of enrollment. Depending on the age and state of health of the insured it may lead to exclusions of guarantees, or increments in the prices.
Before choosing one, it’s a good idea to compare a few companies, to find private health insurance in China that suits your needs and your budget.
China’s Health Insurance With Your National Social Security and A Complimentary Policy
Another solution is to keep affiliated with your national Social Security system if you have the chance. There is no required medical questionnaire.
This alternative can be interesting for expatriates suffering from chronic diseases, or for young single people who benefit from advantageous rates.
However, Social Security reimbursements are low and its coverage limited.
To benefit from a coverage comparable to that of a 1st dollar expat medical insurance in China, it is necessary to subscribe to a complementary policy.
This can lead to having to deal with two different organizations to contact in case of need.