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iminshanghai

MSH China Health Insurance for Expats?

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Does anyone have any experience with MSH Health Insurance plan? A search in this forum didn't produce any hits. I wonder if they're ok, since my company is considering them for my plan. Also, dental care isn't included. Is this normal in China? I need some work done and am afraid of the cost and quality of dentists in Shanghai. Should I be concerned?

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MSH is probably one of the worst medical insurance in China...but it is cheap relative to other major players...

1. You are limited to which hospitals/clinics you can use. Better ones like Parkway, Shanghai United or Shanghai East, you have to co pay up to 30-50%, this is ridiculous.
Your choices will be limited, basically they dictate who you can go to.....

2. Touch wood, if you have a complicated problem that requires test like MRI/CT or hospitalization, they make life hard for you to claim as well, check whether you have a pre-existing problem. They may not even pre-authorize the test even if your doctor think it is warranted.

3. No doubt the premiums are cheap and they their marketing department is effective, this explains why most of the International schools from Concordia, Dulwich to Yew Chung has converted to MSH

4. Utter rubbish, no dental coverage with MSH, all other major players have the

If you have a choice, I will consider
a. Cigna-CMC
b. Aetna
c. AXA Mini metal
d. BUPA

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I had MSH for a couple of years and also could use Parkway with full 100% direct billing. I also had some limited dental cover. It basically depends what your company pay for.

I agree with number 2 though. If you don't do direct billing they seem to do everything they can not to pay.

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I have changed several employers over the last 15 years and have been covered by different medical insurance companies used by different employers. Basically, the extend of the medical coverage including dental or not, is a function of the premiums you (or your company) pay and that essentially applies to most insurance companies. To me, what is most important is whether the insurance companies provides direct billing arrangement with any of the local hospital or international clinics, cuz it's always a pain having to pay the medical bills first and then fill-in the forms and mail it to the isurance companies for reimbursement.

I have not been covered by MSH before so I can't tell you how good or how bad it is. But I can certainly tell you that I was once covered by InterGlobal and they are the worst medical insurer I've come across. Extremely poor customer service, unable to get through to their hotlines and took a very long time to reimburse my medical expenses...Avoid Inter Global...

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I have had medical insurance with MSH through my work for the last 3 years, and cannot speak highly enough about them. I had an emergency life threatening condition, and they were fantastic, they visited me in hospital daily (I was in for 4 weeks), took care of all bills and made sure that I went to the best local hospital. I have only ever dealt with them through direct billing so cannot comment on anything else, but through direct billing they are great. The dental coverage is not good, but I haven't seen many plans that cover dental comprehensively. I have some experience with medical insurance providers and MSH are one of the best Premium medical plan providers in China.

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Lost track of this post...

Sorry to get back so late, but it's never too late to say thank you, right?

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences with me!

Well, I started seeing a doctor at Shanghai United Family and didn't want to change.
The guys at United Family told me MSH is "the best" insurance company there is in Shanghai.

So, I was happy to hear that, which matched what a poster had said on this thread (see @kate1504 above).

What I have learned so far is that it depends 100% on the type of plan you have.
If it's a good, comprehensive plan, MSH can be "the best", as @kate1504 described above.

If your plan is standard, it can be "the worst" as @drsubaru described...

My plan is standard and they gave me this HUGE list of hospitals where I have 100% coverage with direct billing and prescriptions FULLY covered.

At what they call "deluxe", high-cost medical facilities, I have 60% reimbursement with NO direct billing.

Bad news is United Family, Parkway, Sino United and East International are all "deluxe" clinics.

So, I tried to go to two of the best hospitals on their list, according to the Chinese owner of the company my husband and I work for: Huashan and Guanci.

At Guanci, NOONE speaks English, so it was a no-no from the start.

At Huashan, they actually have a Worldwide Medical Center, a completely separate international part of the hospital, on the 8th floor.

Trying to do what the Chinese owners had suggested when I complained the plan didn't cover United Family, I tried to see a doctor in Huashan, although the lady to whom I talked on the phone to get directions to the clinic was very discouraging.

When I got there, the receptionists were really nasty and didn't want to book me an appointment no matter what I said.

They said if I didn't have a serious disease, they couldn't make an appointment for me.

When I tried to make an appointment to see an OBGYN, they told me the doctor only comes on Tuesday afternoons and is very busy. I said: fine, make an appointment for me to see him when he has an opening.

After a lot of yelling in Chinese between themselves, one of the ladies said I should leave, because they would not make an appointment for me because the doctor doesn't speak English well...

I couldn't believe they were actually throwing me out of the hospital and then one of the three receptionists gave me a piece of paper with the name of the hospital she said I had to go to: Sino United (one of the ones where I don't have 100% coverage).
After this not so pleasant experience, I'm back to United Family and will include the 40% of the bill that is not reimbursed by MSH in an expense report this month.
Let's see what the witch-lady from the Financial Department has to say about that...

I'll keep you posted...

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I don't know if its just me but i think health insurance here is a rip off.

I was quoted about 40 k a couple of years ago it didn't make sense When I have a annual 2k policy for travel insurance that covers medical however it is limited to 90 days per trip.

So every 3 months I go home then come back. If work were a constraint even a long week end back in sanity is worth the trip to stock up on essentials.

4 return trips to Australia 25k plus the insurance 2k and your covered for all the extras over medical like baggage cancellation etc

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i would not go to a Chinese hospital for just a check up. If I get sick use the insurance other wise either pay for it or go home, since its not an emergency it can wait. If you have a serious problem normal health insurance wont fly you home.

Also the costs in hospitals for normal stuff are cheap I broke some ribs doctor visit , xrays etc was only a couple of hundred rmb , same with a full on flu antibiotic drip etc
not worth the paper work to claim. so really health insurance is only good for real emergencies that might be expensive. but that is what the travel insurance covers .

I guess there are points either way just seems the best for me. But I am not tied to a 9 to 5 job I can come and go as I please.

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I'm glad it works for you, @krm9999, but using only the travel insurance wouldn't work for me in the long run. Besides the fact that I don't have health insurance in my home country anymore, home leaves are way too far apart for me to rely on that for regular medical care.

And when I'm back home, visiting the doctor is the least of my priorities... I'd much rather spend my time visiting family and friends. 

I guess it depends a lot on your age too. When you get older, things (that are not categorized as emergencies) happen and may require expensive medical care.

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You need to look at what insurance covers. Just because you have some, it doesn't make it comprehensive and cover out patient (ie going to the doctor because you cut your knee, got the flu.) Unless your company or you are paying a decent sized premium you aren't getting this coverage.

Travel Insurance is a great example of that - there will be a general lack of coverage for anything short of in-patient. In patient means something serious enough to force you to stay overnight and be admitted to hospital. If you aren't admitted, then chances are you won't get a refund. Even breaking your foot and getting it x-rayed and put in a cast wouldn't be covered (and all the associated costs) potentially because you weren't admitted.

International health insurance is not subsidized by any government, and it is a profit orientated company like any other, so the premiums on average have to more than compensate for the out-goings otherwise they go broke. Some people expect to pay $2,000 and charge their insurance company $5,000 every year for small bits and pieces. That's naive and won't happen.

You therefore get what you pay for. Pay little premium, get little coverage.

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So now that I've complained that my MSH plan doesn't cover Shanghai United Family or Parkway, the company decided to give me another plan, that supposedly would cover at least Shanghai United Family. The company is called Ping An Health Insurance Company of China. Anyone heard of it before????

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Yes. Ping'An is a highly credible insurance company, one of the largest in China. Shanghai United Family also provides direct billing with Ping'An.

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Ping'an is fine but like MSH there are many coverage levels. Make sure you check what is covered. You should be looking for 100% coverage at Parkway/United etc with direct billing.

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It's another thing that your company can negotiate or pay an extra premium to cover. I'm with BUPA now and on my current policy they will cover pre-existing conditions (with a few exceptions I think - HIV for example.)

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I've used MSH with two different employers, and boy were they worlds apart. My current MSH insurance package covers way more, including coverage for expat clinics (Parkway health, etc.) as well as full dental.

No complaints so far about service, and I've done both in-network and out-of-network services. Guess it all just depends, just like everything else in China?

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As others have mentioned, MSH has to be one of the worst insurance companies out there.

I spent over 5 years in the insurance business (literally writing policy and rules, etc). and can say without reservation I would never recommend MSH. MSH is denying a necessary MRI based on a trumped up non-existent preexisting condition because it does not wish to pay the claim.

We have spoken to several doctors and people in other claims departments who can only shake their head.

Shame on MSH and shame on the American Chamber of Commerce for choosing this insurance company.

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