The Ultimate Guide to China’s Health Insurance

Since 2012, I have lived in China for nearly 10 years. This guide is what I would tell my best friend, if we were having coffee or a beverage and he wanted to know what I thought about his medical insurance. This guide is the only one.

Before we get into the ultimate guide, I want to clarify what medical insurance is for those who don’t know.

What is Medical Insurance?

China Medical Insurance is an insurance policy that covers you for medical treatment in expat medical insurance in China. This means that if you visit a doctor or hospital, you can ask your insurance company for reimbursement. Reimbursement can only be granted for treatment that is covered by your insurance. We will explain the differences between plans and their levels of coverage below.

Can I Use Only Travel Insurance?

Many people travel to China with a plan of travel insurance. Most people don’t understand the difference between medical and travel insurance. If you are only visiting, travel insurance can be fine. Travel insurance is fine for short trips if you have a permit to stay in China, but if you are already living there, the policy will no longer be valid and you may not have any coverage. Avoid falling for this trap. Travel insurance is not meant to cover your medical expenses at home.

What is the best way to get medical insurance in China?

Some people have employer-sponsored social insurance, others have AD&D (accidental demise and dismemberment) or a plan for critical illness. Read on if this sounds like you.

Now you know what medical insurance is. I hope that everyone who reads this understands why it is essential to expats. The tricky part is how can you find the right coverage at the right price.

Step 1: What is the Right Price?

It can be difficult and stressful to choose a budget for insurance. It is not enough to have insurance that costs less than a few hundred dollars or a few thousand RMB. Insurance that costs less than $500 won’t offer the required coverage and will not provide security.

Step 2: Determine the Benefit Coverage you Want

You must first decide what type of coverage or insurance you want and what benefits you value. Our Guide to the Most Popular Expat Insurance Plans in China may be able to assist you if you already know the basics of health insurance plans. If this is the first time you have purchased this type insurance, I recommend that you continue reading.

Step 3: Select the services you require from your medical insurance

This stage is where you have decided on a budget and what benefits you need. Finally, you will need to determine if you have specific insurance requirements and what your expectations are from your insurance company.

All China Insurance Providers Basic Services

An extensive network of hospitals in China offers direct billing. This is a cashless, outpatient payment that uses an insurance card.

Direct Settlement (cashless inpatient care with a guarantee letter)

Help booking doctor appointments

24/7 Chinese-English helpline

Direct billing refers to outpatient care where the hospital or clinic will pay your bill directly. Many hospitals in China, especially those that are private, have agreements with multiple insurers to pay for their services and doctor’s visits. Different services will be offered by different insurers.

Step 4: Select the Right Insurance Plan

Why you should use an insurance broker

Once you have established a budget, you can start to think about the benefits and services you require from your insurance company. It can be difficult to find the right plan for you based on your needs and circumstances. Talk to one of our advisors who can help you navigate this process or provide a free, no-obligation comparison on medical insurance.

Although it doesn’t impact the cost of any insurance policy, having an insurance broker adds tremendous value because you have an expert advisor and advocate on your side. Our services are entirely free for you.