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crivens200

Health Insurance in China for Expats Cost ?

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This is something I've been meaning to do for about 10 years but never got round to it. I've completely no idea how much I should pay for this.

I don't need dental or anything fancy, no kids, not married, single guy 45yrs old.

Just need a basic plan that covers me in emergencies really. I've visited a hospital once in the past 5 years for a broken wrist that I got fixed at a local hospital for less than 100rmb. Not needed anything done to my teeth since I was 16.

I've been quoted GBP1400 (14000rmb) for an annual plan from BUPA which includes a GBP500 (5000rmb) excess. This seems crazy high to me.

Am I being stung or is this normal?

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Mine is paid for by my company but under China tax law, health insurance is taxable, so I pay a few thousand a year extra tax. It's pretty basic but definitely includes outpatient treatment and I don't think there's any excess. A colleague used it and the insurance company was billed directly so he paid nothing. I've never used it so far.

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I would suggest this.

Decide what are your needs. Pure emergency/outpatient/evac etc?

Where do you stay and work? Find a emergency centre you are comfortable with.

Go down to that centre, ask their billing/reception to give you a list of all the DIRECT BILLING MEMBERS.

Call them direct for a quote.

Cigna/BUPA/AETNA/AXA etc are all high end.

But they do might also give a free physical one a year worth say 3-5k. This would include all the blood work, xray, ekg etc, ultrawave sound

There are cheaper options like MSH and Goodhealth but I think they are kinda rubbish, can be strict and does not cover for some items....

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I paid 3600 USD this year Aetna 38yr old guy - prices have been going up every year its getting crazy...think i started off with 2200 5 yrs ago.

it has to do with your AGE range and also if you choose self-pay, direct billing, include the US....So far it seems AXA ICBC offers pretty good deals..but again...depends what you really need.

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Celso said:

I paid 3600 USD this year Aetna 38yr old guy - prices have been going up every year its getting crazy...think i started off with 2200 5 yrs ago.

5 Years X 2900 = 14,500 USD X 6.22 = 90,190

You should have just banked the money. Why could you possibly need more than 90k for emergency treatment in China? If it is very bad, go to Parkway or United Family, get stabilised, and then medivac you to Seoul, Tokyo, HK or home.

I know people who are spending 2/3000 RMB a month for lifesaving cancer treatment for their mother. To them that is a huge expense, but to you that's close to your monthly insurance and that's for CANCER.

You can fly to Bangkok and get a quadruple bypass for $14k USD.

Edited by woshiweideren

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I would take a look at William Russel. Dutch company, seems on the level. I was confronted with the same problem as you a few months ago and after looking around decided on them.

Like you, I only wanted emergency / disaster insurance. (anything minor I can either get it done at a Chinese hospital or just power through)

I even got 3 weeks a year covered in the States (optional US visit plan) and the total was something like 850 RMB a month. Now, I'm pretty young and pretty healthy so your quote might be higher, but give it a look.

PM me is you want the e-mail of the girl I went through from that company - she did a good job giving me different options and helping me to figure out what suited me best.

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I just got the details of my company provided Chinese health insurance and it is crap. 60K RMB max /year payout in the worst case scenario with tons of exclusions. Pretty much if anything serious happens China will probably not renew the work visa of someone who no longer has the capacity to work and once you get booted home the insurance probably doesn't even cover you . Even if it did you could probably blow through 60K RMB in the US in a short period of time.

Even the really cheap plans in the US cover something like $250K USD.

I knew something like this was going to happen so I implored my company to simply pay me my insurance premium as part of my salary so I could use that towards a global plan of my own choosing, but they said they're required to provide me with insurance by the gov?

It's not really health insurance. Its more like visit the doctor insurance.

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43 minutes ago, woshiweideren said:

5 Years X 2900 = 14,500 USD X 6.22 = 90,190

You should have just banked the money. Why could you possibly need more than 90k for emergency treatment in China? If it is very bad, go to Parkway or United Family, get stabilised, and then medivac you to Seoul, Tokyo, HK or home.

I know people who are spending 2/3000 RMB a month for lifesaving cancer treatment for their mother. To them that is a huge expense, but to you that's close to your monthly insurance and that's for CANCER.

You can fly to Bangkok and get a quadruple bypass for $14k USD.

I don't think you are seeing the full picture here. There is a huge disparity in price and service levels between local hospitals and international hospitals in China.
If you want coverage that only includes Chinese local hospitals, about 3,000 - 5,000 will get you good coverage. It's cheap because treatment is cheap, so claims are low.

If you know somebody spending 2-3,000 for cancer treatment it must be in a local hospital.

But I know of very few expats who would be happy with local services.

As well as language issues, there are privacy issues, quality of care issues, hygiene, culture etc.

If you want to be covered in China so as you can visit expat hospitals (as well as emergency coverage overseas), the very minimum is about 15-20k, up to 40-50k for really gold-standard plans.
It's expensive because potential claims could be very high.

For example I know a guy who injured his knee playing football, got operated in United Family, bill was something like 160,000, outrageously expensive, but he was insured so why not?

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I'm on Cigna platinum through the company, certainly cannot complain, and seems to cover every single thing xD. Used to be on goodhealth, don't really have any complaints about them eithe.

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I am constantly flying in and out of China - I rarely if ever stay in the country for more than a few weeks at a stretch.

As a result, I can be covered by travel insurance, as long as I purchase it in my home country and link it to an outbound flight. I've combed the fine print and can't see anything in there which would exclude me, unless my medical mishap were to commence more than 90 days after arriving in China - which would never happen in my case.

The cover basically includes local stabilisation then medivac to another country for definitive treatment.

@woshiweideren, your argument in favour of self-insurance makes some superficial sense but ignores two major considerations:

(1) In the event of a real disaster, you may not be in a position to make your own decisions. What happens if one day you wake up in the ICU at United, to be informed that you have suffered a near-fatal heart attack (or whatever) and have already had a quadruple bypass? Got 1,000,000 RMB handy?

(2) You decide to self-insure by laying aside (say) 1,000 RMB per month. One day after making this decision, you suffer said heart attack. At this point you've got 0.1% of your bill covered. Oops.

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@woshiweideren

Firstly, Parkway or United Family will not stabilize you, they want nothing to do with patients who are in dire straights, they will send you to somewhere like Shanghai East instead.

Secondly, do you have any idea how much medivac costs? Any kind of lung problems and they will not let you fly unless it is in a pressurised plane.

We were told it would cost roughly $400k for such a plane.

I have seen the standard of local ICU care here. I have seen how they treat patients.
I have seen an old woman tied to a bed with a tube down her throat, frantically waving at the nurse for help because she is vomiting. I have then been told by the nurse that I ran to to "ignore her because she is 'bu hao'". She died the following day. They knew this was likely and obviously just couldn't be arsed giving a crap anymore and so left her in a corner to die, probably choking on her own vomit whilst tied down like a dog.

I have seen the MRSA beds interspersed amongst the normal beds whilst the nurses go from one to the next without even a hint of care for hygiene. I have seen dead patients shoved to one side in a corridor whilst the family huddles around them grieving. I would rather shoot myself in the head than be 'cared for' here.
If you don't have the money, you will be on that ward, you won't be in a private room, you will be surrounded by sick, disease ridden people. You will be fed the same **** that the toilet cleaners get fed (rice and some questionable gutter oil laden gloop).

Question... if you are comatose, who has access to your money to pay the bills? Do you know what happens if you can't pay? You are thrown out.

You do not want to be here if something goes seriously wrong.

Unless you have a huge wad of cash stashed away somewhere, you probably will not be able to afford Medivac, or the "stabilising treatment" at an international clinic.

Anyone that believe that the "x amount they put aside each year that they would have spent on premiums" will cover even a fraction of a serious medical bill is an absolute idiot. Anyone who would put themselves in a position where they may end up in a Chinese ICU is an idiot.

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@PeterP

It will if you do not pay USA prices to ripoff Chinese clinics.

Clearly no one here wants to use the fact that the medical costs here are not at USA levels and the USA has the most expensive prices the world has to offer and it's why I reference USA medical prices in this post. In fact prices are 1/20th or less than in the USA. Appendix bursts? $500 usd, proper care, week in a private room, here in boondocksville. Seen this, happened to a friend.

There is no way medical bills here approach the level of the USA, UNLESS you insist on going to the ripoff clinics that take Fullpat insurance, the clinics that elevate their prices to use up exactly as much as your insurance company will pay.

If UF is unwilling and unable to stabilise someone after major medical, trauma, cardio vascular event, etc. THEN WHAT THE FARK ARE YOU PAYING THEM SO MUCH DAMN MONEY FOR? Seems to me you guys are being ripped off as you get no value for money with your insurance as well as your "Western Style Medical Care".

My mistake, I thought some of you here do not waste money.

Silly me when some of you piss away 50k a month on an apartment.

If I break a leg - I can pay for it myself. If I stroke out, I can pay for it myself. If I have an MI, I can pay for it myself. Why? Because I am not in the USA where it will cost me n x 100k USD. I am also not making 100k/CNY a month here.

What the **** are you pissing your money away on? Hookers and Blow?

USA costs are $35k a day for major medical. Think 200k to 500k USD for anything that really saves your life.

400k CNY to fly you to Tokyo? Are you daft? It wouldn't cost that much to charter your own helicopter in the USA. That's 70k USD!

Do you have any idea what 160k CNY/26k USD gets you in the STATES? That's retainer only practices that work with Scripps, or ARE Scripps, best in the world, cash only, premium insurance or pay in advance. And your friend paid that in CHINA? For a blown out knee? If you have 500k CNY in Chinese medical expenses you can get that all done in San Diego.

-1) Wreck knee
-2) Book next flight to Los Angeles, business or 1st class $5,000
-3) Arrive LAX and get rental car/limo/shuttle/ambulance to La Jolla $200-$1000
-4) Show up at Scripps, hobble in and cut them a check for $10K right there
-5) Local hotel room $150/ night. Stay one week.

You flew to LAX, are paying cash, and still have not spent 13k. I do not understand you guys, at all.

WTF!

More and more you guys support the notion that well-paid MNC D-level and up personnel are just idiots here. Pissing your money away on no-value for money nonsense.

If you have 50k or 100k USD to waste on medical care here, fly to Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, Sydney or Los Angeles.

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You seem to misunderstand completely.

I have first hand experience of 'emergency care without insurance'. I am not talking a broken leg, that isn't exactly 'emergency medical care'. I am talking about "oh **** the **** has hit the fan and there is no insurance". I am talking life or death (in this case death). I am talking ICU. You end up in an ICU situation and you will be in a chinese clinic. If you know it will be a short stay you can get a "private room", but what happens when the doctor tells you "it may be months....", then what?. If you do not have insurance then you will be on the ward. I mentioned nothing about UF whatsoever.

Sure you can do "chinese ICU on the cheap", and it will be exactly as I described. Re-read my post.

You are also assuming that you can fly. Don't take that for granted.

Lets hope you are never in the position where you are faced with a loved one dying, or potential bankruptcy to keep them alive. But hey, that **** never happens, right?

You're a **** moron who is too lazy to read and too full of themselves to actually listen.

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the 400K was for a special, *pressurized* medivac plane. Not all sick people can fly on a normal plane. Sure they're pressurized, but not enough for anyone with any serious issue where a change in pressure is going to have major consequences.

Take your head out of your arse and read.

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At United I have sometimes met the issues that a procedure was deemed to be over 5/6K at which point the billing department comes to inform you that it needs to be pre-approved by your insurance company.

I was only able to do the procedure on that day as i was travelling the following weeks, they said i could pay with my credit card but i refused to do that so doctor and billing department spoke some machine-gun Shanghainese and all of a sudden the bill came to 4920 RMB which was then covered by my direct billing.

Surely not complaining but just amazed at how flexible they are with prices. Also once needed an MRI and was told it would cost 12500 RMB obviously needed pre-approval again was denied this time as herniated discs were deemed a chronic condition with no cure??? Went to a local hospital for just the MRI and had to pay 1000 RMB then went back to United with the results...

As long as i have insurance i will keep going there but rates have been going up steadily over the years....

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United have the most incredible racket going. The bird wot founded it is just raking it in by the millions. Parkway are doing their best to catch up, Worldpath are scouting for the crumbs. There are a couple of other minor players. But United are simply minting it. "World's most expensive private hospital", according to internal research done by one of the big international insurers with a presence here.
 

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No, the point is that if you are in Asia/China and earn even a good ESL salary, and you fullpats better have this much saved up after two months or you cannot budget, you can save up the money for heart surgery or being mended after a horrific auto accident. Save for one or two years and you can self pay anything that will happen to you.

Anything.

Even a low level ESL teacher can save $10k USD and that pays for anything. You MNC's can self pay for anything - again, provided you don't pay USA rip off prices that are keyed off your insurance plan which is why they ask for your insurance first. To see what they can maximum charge you for. Happens in the USA as well.

If you end up paralysed and a quadrapalegic, then back home you go - but short of that you can pay it yourself.

Then there is the issue of accepting that you aren't entitled to millions of euros of care just so that you live, but that's another thread...

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