HomeHealthHealthcare in China for expats

Healthcare in China for expats

Foreigners and expats may find China’s healthcare system to be challenging and somewhat unsettling. Hospitals are often overcrowded and understaffed, and appointments are hard to come by, most of the time you will just have to show up at the hospital, pick up a waiting ticket and patiently wait in line until your number comes up. However, there are a number of good hospitals in major cities that are equipped to deal with foreign patients. These hospitals typically have English-speaking staff and accept international insurance plans. Within the country they are often referred as private or international hospitals. In major cities like Beijing or Shanghai you will come across a number of those pretty much in every district, travelling to Tier 2 and 3 cities will on the other hand limit your choices. China Access Health is a licensed insurance broker located in China. Healthcare in china for expats Based out of Shanghai China Access Health has a the license to serve clients across all regions of China.


It is recommended that foreigners living in China purchase comprehensive health insurance. This will cover the costs of medical treatment in case of illness or injury should an acute medical condition happen.  Health care in China can be expensive, especially in international hospitals so it is important to be insured. With good health insurance plan you wont only get peace of mind of getting medical expenses covered when needed but also certain value added services. Major insurance providers have things such as second medical option or even direct billing services where their members can enjoy cashless outpatient care in some of the major hospitals in China. 

If you have comprehensive health insurance, you will be reimbursed for most of your medical expenses. You should, however, check with your insurance company to see what exactly is covered. This will be in both files called Table of Benefits of insurance plan as well as policy wording. Many insurance companies will not cover pre-existing conditions, so it is important to be aware of this before you purchase a policy, thus make sure you check all terms and conditions before paying your insurance premium.

 Remember that insurance companies will be looking for any kind of evidence of pre-existing conditions, and if you have documentation from a medical professional showing clearly date of first symptoms on current consultation then this will be fine. Healthcare in China for expats can be challenging to go by so it is important you are fully aware of all the clauses in your insurance plan before signing up. In that case you will have very clear understanding of what you are actually covered for as well as what services to expect from your insurance provider.

You will pay a higher premium if your job is more dangerous or involves some certain high risks. The best way to find out how much your job affects your insurance is to do research to determine the specific factors that are being used to calculate the amount of risk in your policy. Examples of clients that may face higher than standard insurance premiums can be professional athletes, those who practice high risk sports such as trekking at heigh over 3000m, scuba diving, paragliding and many others toonily.

Medical insurance will have a plethora of options to choose from. Make sure you have thoroughly investigated all of the options before purchasing any health insurance policy. When you know what your options and are aware of the choices, you will be able to choose the best insurance for your needs and budget without any unexpected surprised to be discovered later when you actually start using the policy.

This help you better calculate the amount of money you need to be aware of any deductibles and coverages. You should also keep records of the expenses you have paid out of your out of pocket expenses. Always make sure to check on this too for things such as copayments under your policy, deductibles and/or excess if you have any. 

You need to know whether your insurance policy includes prenatal care and childbirth. This is important because there are plans that will not pay for certain things if this happens. It is also a good idea to get travel insurance when traveling to China. This will cover you in case you need to be evacuated due to an emergency.However those usually come with certain visa restrictions, such as such policies will only covered expenses of members that do not have any sort of long term residency in China. Several insurance companies have already made it clear for China expats saying that if you hold any visa except tourist or short term business visa – their travel insurance policies will not cover any medical expenses should they encounter any.

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