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Health Insurance


to people who are working/studying here: do you have a health insurance? if so, did you get it from your home country or here? and what does it cover you for?

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I don't at the moment but I had when I first got here, my company paid for me to have Bupa Gold from the UK, it basically covers you for everything and if something really serious happens then they fly you home and take car of you there, it was expensive though around, 拢1300 a year.

I've been looking at getting some more recently, there are plenty of brokers around that offer different deals with different companies and different prices, the price usually depends on whether you go for stuff like out patient care, for things such as sports injuries where you need physiotherapy. all have the basic in patient care if your ill and some will fly you home if your really ill or injured.

I'll dig out the name of the broker if your interested, if you contact them they will do a individual quote for you which will show quotes from around 5 or 6 different companies and what they offer. they are a foreign company and have foreign staff so your not dealing with Chinese people which may or may not make people feel more comfortable.

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Av33 - Here is the details of the broker, the lady I spoke to was called Sabine Sams

Pacific Prime International Ltd.

15 Dongping Lu, Suite 503

Shanghai, 200031

P.R. China


Tel: +86/21 6467 1304

Fax: +86/21 6467 0328

Web: http://www.global-health-insurance.com/

CB - I am still living here on a business visa, but am in the process of applying for my work visa, so good to know, thanks


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Travelling, working or living abroad can be exciting, but can also

present unexpected obstacles and challenges. This is particularly so

when it comes to quality healthcare which you and your family expect

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Mandatory International heath insurance can be made to sound worse than it is. Especially

given that the word mandatory scares the hell out of Americans, even

though we already have mandatory drivers license and drivers insurance,

income tax, building permits, school attendance, vehicle registration,

home insurance for mortgages, personal identification, security

scanning at airports, income tax filing, dog licensing, sales taxes,

etc. (Looking at this short partial list, I can hear the libertarians

locking and loading as we speak).

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I’m the Business Development Manager for Axa-Minmetals Health Care Department in Jiangsu and Zhejiang and I thought it might be interesting to share a little bit of information on the local scene from someone inside the business. As an expatriate living abroad, it's both more important and more difficult to understand the details of your health insurance than usually back home. Many of the foreigners living here are not very used to how medical insurance works, especially those coming from well developed welfare countries in Europe (such as my own home country – Sweden) where basically the government pays your medical bills while living in your home country. I hope this reply can help making things clearer.

Your cover at home

The first common misunderstanding among expatriates is that their private health insurance or social security from home will provide the same coverage wherever they are, including overseas. Unfortunately this usually isn’t the case. For many of those who have been contributing to a health fund regularly for many years or are used to comprehensive government Medicare, it can come as a shock to find out that you’re not covered overseas for a single cent. In many cases – such as Sweden, having lived overseas for a longer period of time you might not even be covered, or have very limited cover (usually emergencies), for medical costs even during trips back to your home country!

Medical care in China can be very expensive – some of the most expensive hospitals in the world are located here and annually we have medical claims that comfortably exceed US$100,000.00. Our two largest claims in the last three years have been as a result of accident, which is the number one cause for medical treatment amongst expatriates in China.

Level of insurance cover

Most insurance providers offer different levels of cover (we have four different plans offering different levels of cover). Which one to choose depends most of the time on your budget and family situation. The very minimum cover you should obtain would be an inpatient only plan, which covers you in the event of hospitalization. These maybe high cost events, that stretch the budgets of all but the wealthiest patients and can be covered by an insurance company for a relatively small premium. The second cover you should look for is emergency evacuation cover through which the insurance company should not only cover the cost of any true emergency but also be in a position to arrange it. This cover can often be more important than many people think, sure we do have some rather good hospitals and medical facilities in the area and we are also close to Shanghai, but some conditions can’t be treated locally. One example of this is organ transplant where Chinese laws do not permit foreigners to receive organs in Chinese hospitals and an evacuation, for example to Hong Kong, would be necessary. For those of you who often travel to less developed areas of China or Asia the need for emergency evacuation to the nearest suitable medical facility is even greater.

For somewhat higher premiums you can also get plans that cover you for outpatient treatment, trips to the doctor, health checks, vaccinations, maternity, dental etc.

In short, when choosing a plan, know your preferences, healthcare options and choose a plan based on your needs and budget. If possible, get a plan through your employer. We, and most other insurance companies, can give discount on corporate plans.

It is also important to check how the insurance company deals with pre-existing conditions. Many companies don’t cover them at all, while some insurance plans, such as ours, cover them after some waiting period.

Place your coverage locally

If you’re not covered under your company’s global policy, then it’s best to place your coverage locally through one of the legally registered local insurance providers (e.g. AXA-Minmetals, Goodhealth, Ping An, GBG/TieCare). Placing your coverage locally has several advantages. First of all, you have local staff that speak the language, can help you navigate the local system and can negotiate with local hospitals and doctors. Secondly, in cases where direct billing isn’t an option then a good local provider will send agents directly to your clinic to pay the claims directly (for inpatient cases). And finally, with an offshore product, you won’t have any consumer protection. In China the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) regulates and maintains the legal and stable operation of the insurance industry. But if your provider isn’t here, they can’t help you.

The devil is in the detail. Read your policy!

Does it extend overseas? What does it cover? Where and what doesn’t it cover? For example, we offer worldwide coverage and then worldwide coverage excluding the U.S. The latter decreases your premium, but won’t cover your medical expenses if you want to go to the U.S. for treatment (with the exception of a small amount of emergency coverage). Sometimes people will bring domestic plans from Hong Kong and find out too late that these plans don’t actually cover everything they need. For example, there’s a higher probability of evacuation from mainland China and their Hong Kong-based policy won’t necessarily cover that.

Insurance and the local healthcare system

Some local hospitals will handle direct billing (your insurance company will have a list), but most don’t. They have plenty of local paying business, so they don’t have a need to cater to foreigners. Even if you don’t use a local hospital it’s a good idea to find a Chinese doctor who speaks English. They’ll be able to navigate the local system and services for you should you need something a western clinic can’t provide. Don’t forget to check with your insurance provider if they charge extra for using their direct billing network, many providers do (we don’t).

I do welcome feedback and any questions so please feel free to post or alternatively email me on eskil.fredriksson@axa-minmetals.com.cn

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I also went through pacific prime - i chose aetna through them, was cheapest and seems to cover everything i need, i think about $1300 USD for the year, include emergency evacuation etc

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Looking for the right travel agency to book the proper flight is a separate adventure by itself.

An excellent travel insurance policy is the need of the hour.The insurance sector is highly competitive, and it is no surprise that the rates offered by the insurance companies with respect to international travel are quite affordable and even considered cheap by your standards.So, Travel Protect International offers travel insurance international quotes of top providers to easily understand & compare.

:) :)

Travel Insurance International

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