Thanks for the insight, I genuinely appreciate it. Here is my logic for buying outside of China. I truly am open to suggestion, so please tell me what you think:
1) The non-China product allows me unlimited access to healthcare anywhere in the world. If I get very sick I can simply show up in Europe, or seek treatment in Hong Kong, without approval. (no need to trigger repatriation portions of the policy) Global Allianz and Cigna are good with this, I simply tell them what hospital I want and I'm done. I am not sure if local licensed policies can match this freedom?
Local policies may have repatriation but to trigger this I need a local doctor to sign off that I can't get the treatment locally. I would not want to rely on this since you have to be near death for them to sign off on this.
2) Agree that if I was spending time out of Shanghai in 2nd tier cities local companies would probably do direct billing better. I'll give you that one. But I reside 99% of my time here in Shanghai I think it's kind of equal as the big foreign hospitals are well known and covered.
3) Claims handling: I haven't had experience with this personally as I haven't had any claims. Given that anything here that has the words "customer" and "service" in the same sentence is a disaster I am inclined to believe that I would think I'd be better off with the European serviced versions of these policies. This would be especially true if hospital service is provided outside of China (HK or Europe)
4) You see for serious illness (cancer) I do not see Shanghai as my primary source of care but look to Hong Kong or Europe as my end destination. That's what is making me lean toward the non-China variants of these policies.
Is there a flaw in my logic? I honestly appreciate your feed-back.