The guide to China’s health insurance

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The guide to China's health insurance
The guide to China's health insurance

Are you looking to start a new chapter with China? China, with its rich heritage and 56 different ethnic groups, is one of the largest and oldest countries in the world. It is home to many historical landmarks like the Great Wall of medical insurance for foreigners in China or the Forbidden city. But it also has beautiful scenery. Guilin, for example, is well-known for its water paintings that look like real water paintings.

You might find it helpful to research the Chinese healthcare system before you decide to move. Equally important is how you can access it as an expat. Here are some details about the Chinese healthcare system and the options for health insurance.

China’s healthcare system

China’s healthcare sector is expanding at an alarming rate. The quality of medical care in China is improving rapidly, particularly after 2012, when the Chinese government allowed foreign investors to build private hospitals. Below is a comparison of China’s public and private healthcare system.

China’s public healthcare system

China’s social insurance program provides free basic healthcare. It covers most expats, depending on where they are located. Chinese is often used to book appointments and consult with doctors. You may also have to wait a while before you can receive the affordable services.

Expats who seek treatment in China may find that healthcare quality varies greatly between regions and institutions. Hospitals in large cities like Shanghai or Beijing have a better quality than hospitals in smaller towns and cities. Combining this with a difficult language barrier may make it difficult to navigate the country’s public health system. Also, public facilities tend to be noisier and less clean than private ones.

China’s private healthcare system

Many expats choose to have their treatment in international or private hospitals in order to receive the same level of care as in Western countries. The fees for treatment in international and private facilities can be quite expensive and often even more costly than those in the US. To offset the potentially high costs, it is a good idea to get private Chinese health insurance.

There are many types of private medical facilities available in China, including international hospitals, clinics and VIP wards at hospitals. You will find a lot more private hospitals in large cities such as Beijing and Shanghai.

Hospitals and clinics abroad

Expat dense areas are the best places to find international clinics. The suburbs are home to international hospitals. The quality of care is comparable to what you would receive back home, as mentioned. The staff can also speak English and a few other languages. It is essential that you have a smooth communication with your doctor to receive the care you require.

VIP Hospital Wards

Public hospitals often have VIP wards. They offer a personalized, English-speaking healthcare experience similar to international clinics and hospitals. They offer the same services and treatments at a similar price as international hospitals.

China: Are you planning to travel?

It is highly recommended that you have travel insurance if you plan to visit China as a tourist and you do not have any international health insurance.

For a visit by a general practitioner at an international hospital in China, it is common to pay RMB 1,200 to RMB 1,500 RMB. Specialist appointments will usually cost you significantly more. Expats often choose to have international health insurance in China, so they can get coverage at these facilities without having to break the bank.