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- March 21, 2020 at 9:34 am #4511AnonymousGuest
Does anyone know of a good expat health insurance plan that i can look into? the one i have currently is ridiculously pathetic (i didn’t know any better back then when i first signed up…), it only covers local hospitals. for minor colds and stuff, going to the expat wings in the local hospitals is okay. however, for anything more than that, the level of medical knowledge and treatment is just not acceptable (not to mention english). i know there are insurance brokers that i can talk to, but i’d like to get first-hand opinion on fellow expats who have different insurance plans, good or bad, so i know which ones to look into and stay away from….thanks a bunch!!March 21, 2020 at 9:34 am #4786AnonymousGuest
Does anyone know of a good expat health insurance plan that i can look into? the one i have currently is ridiculously pathetic (i didn’t know any better back then when i first signed up…), it only covers local hospitals. for minor colds and stuff, going to the expat wings in the local hospitals is okay. however, for anything more than that, the level of medical knowledge and treatment is just not acceptable (not to mention english). i know there are insurance brokers that i can talk to, but i’d like to get first-hand opinion on fellow expats who have different insurance plans, good or bad, so i know which ones to look into and stay away from….thanks a bunch!!March 21, 2020 at 9:35 am #4787AnonymousGuest
With regards to medical insurance for expatriates there are a number of points that you need to take into consideration:
Apart from the expensive costs of international facilities here in Shanghai it should cover you on your other travels for business or pleasure around the world – and therefore cover should be of a premium.
If you and your family are fit and healthy go for something that has very good inpatient cover and also for special investigations and lab tests, surgery, ICU etc.
For outpatients most expats are fairly healthy and we do not use outpatient services more than two or three times a year (we self medicate more than they do in China). So you can choose an insurance that has very limited outpatient cover and pay out of pocket for these but ensure you have really really good cover for longterm inpatient care in case of surgery or catastrophic event that will keep you there for a long time. Check on cover for chronic medications – drugs can be a major expense.
Some insurances are very smart, they want to restrict payouts but want your premiums, obviously that is how they make money, so they may give you a ridiculous cover for outpatient care and a limited amount for inpatient care as they know that is where the claims are going to be high, so go over the cover very closely.
They will insure you for a couple of million USD for cancer etc, and really the risk for most healthy people is low for that and we would most likely relocate home for that anyway.
Common things happen commonly – so for us if we are fit and healthy it is likely to be accidental in nature, the odd heart attack, stroke, diabetes if you are NOT THAT healthy and exercise etc.
Finally check to see that there is medical evacuation cover as you may want to go somewhere where you are getting a better level of care and this can be very expensive, ensure that the medical assistance company responsible for evacuation/repatriation (to home country for major illness like cancer) and linked to your insurance is one that has a good reputation here in Asia as well – they don’t all match up.
If you want a good expat package you are going to pay for it, so do a risk benefit analysis and go for the things that are likely to happen and take the risk – sh…t happens but the percentage is likely to be low.
I would recommend you look at ones like BUPA and CIGNA these are the ones used by the largest MNC’s. If you want to go for something that is not in this price category Royal Sun Alliance and there are also others, like GMCI/Aetna/Goodhealth/William Russell/Allianz/AIG etc. But be very careful of some of the fine print of all these insurances as some will not readily pay up when it comes to saving costs at the risk of potentially not doing the best for the patient – like “the healthcare in China is the same as other places in the world, so why would you want to go elsewhere” and b/s like that.
Make sure you ask your broker all the questions – so be knowledgeable and question everything, remember they also make money out of it so they may try to sell you something that is not suitable for you and I have advised many people not to take the packages they have been offered based on all the facts above.
It really is going to depend on your personal needs, family, current health status travel etc. and whether you will be covered under your home country healthcare system should something major go wrong.
Don’t get roped into something not suitable for the most important needs you will require – there should be no compromise to your health and you should expect only the best so pay for it and sleep well at night!March 21, 2020 at 9:36 am #4788AnonymousGuest
I have health insurance with BUPA, but there are many other international insurers that offer similar packages. It pays off to shop around and compare what’s on the market.March 21, 2020 at 9:37 am #4789AnonymousGuest
I have used the Aetna. Everything was covered as it claimed to be. The deductible wasn’t met that year because I wasn’t ill very often. I believe I saw the doctor twice in China and saw two doctors in the US. However, the claims process was easy (receipts had to be furnished to count towards the deductible). As for the specific of that plan, I don’t really remember. It was all-inclusive, covered most types of doctors visits throughout the world and had a US limitation of 30 days in the hospital. Major medical, visits, emergency evacuation and repatriation were all part of the plan. Specialists were included. There were network and non-network doctors (really only applied for the US). Cost was roughly USD3000 for the year.
Aetna is a very large insurer. I had no qualms about selecting their coverage.March 21, 2020 at 9:38 am #4790AnonymousGuest
My husband & I have medical insurance through his company group plan. The outpatient medical coverage is 12,000 RMB maximum per year (for both of us) and paid out at 80% of the cost of a visit/treatment.
Recently I had to go to see a general practitioner here in Shanghai and had a very small procedure done at the doctor’s clinic. This procedure would have cost approx. 1500-2000 RMB in my home country (New Zealand). I know this because I spoke to a person in NZ who works in the medical area. Here in Shanghai it cost 5,000RMB.
My questions are:
1. Is an 80% refund on out-patient visits normal or is 100% more usual?
2. Is the level the company is offering at 12,000 RMB (for two adults) realistic? I am heavily doubting it is after my initial “outing” into Shanghai medical costs.
Would really appreciate your comments on this as I have no idea – this is all so new to us.March 21, 2020 at 9:41 am #4791AnonymousGuest
try to get an overview from a broker (eg china expat health – contact details should be easy to google/ if not let me know and i give you an email addr). you can describe whats important for you and they give you several alternatives.March 21, 2020 at 9:41 am #4792AnonymousGuest
I am having nightsweats about health insurance. All of sudden prices are become very inflated. I am tired of dealing with brokers with powerpoint presentations.
I am quite healthy and do not eat meats that have been previously visited by bluebottles.
Anyone know of any decent companies that sell affordable products without brokerages?March 22, 2020 at 8:13 am #4849AnonymousGuest
It’s really nice if the carrier can directly reimburse the providers you plan on using here. The usual expat healthcare providers include Shanghai United Hospital, Parkway Health, and some others.
One of the main criteria I used in selecting a plan is whether it will provide for ongoing treatment in the U.S. 365 days / year if necessary. There aren’t many plans out there that do that. They’re expensive too.March 22, 2020 at 8:23 am #4850AnonymousGuest
I’d use Blue Cross / Blue Shield. Most of the time it’s on a reimbursement basis, but it’s still better than many alternatives.
A lot of plans here will not cover even your basic imported medicines and certainly not any of that Chinese traditional medicine that doctors like to slip in unnoticed.March 22, 2020 at 8:25 am #4851AnonymousGuest
I have used the Aetna planned through AmCham. Everything was covered as it claimed to be. The deductible wasn’t met that year because I wasn’t ill very often. I believe I saw the doctor twice in China and saw two doctors in the US. However, the claims process was easy (receipts had to be furnished to count towards the deductable). As for the speficis of that plan, I don’t really remember. It was all-inclusive, covered most types of doctors visits throughout the world and had a US limitation of 30 days in the hospital. Major medical, visits, emergency evacuation and repatriation were all part of the plan. Specialists were included. There were network and non-network doctors (really only applied for the US). Cost was roughtly USD3000 for the year.
Aetna is a very large insurer. I had no qualms about selecting their coverage.March 22, 2020 at 8:42 am #4852AnonymousGuest
I would like to make some additional important comments that you need to look at when buying medical insurance, and I am not an insurance broker so I don’t have to favour any particular company at all:
Independent insurance brokers make their revenue on what they sell you, so may put forward one insurance over another to make more money depending on commissions etc. So not always in your interest but in theirs. Read the fine print and make sure you know what you are getting for your money as stated above.
Often the low risk items will provide huge amounts of coverage and the high risk items coverage have low thresholds to avoid expensive claims. Healthcare here and in some of the centers of medical excellence is very expensive, sometimes exceeding costs in the US and other international centers.
As far as the evacuation cover goes, it is not just about the coverage, you can be insured for ten million $$ but if you don’t have someone to get you out of China when you need it, then you are stuck here, and I certainly do not agree with the comments on Beijing and Shanghai necessarily being acceptable – they are not if you come from a country with superb healthcare (sometimes just acceptably good).
So when you choose your insurance make sure that they are affiliated to a medical assistance company for evacuation that has a presence in China or who is able to do an evacuation out of China properly in an acceptable time frame, and that you don’t end up staying here because the insurance tells you this is an ”acceptable international standard” only because they don’t have the means to get you out, and because they don’t want to spend the money; remember they are insurances, so they make money on premiums and not on spending money on their clients, so they will obviously do all they can to keep costs down, with what could sometimes be construed as ‘acceptable healthcare’ based on personal perceptions.
For the record, I don’t make money out of moving or referring patients to any healthcare provider or insurance/assistance company, I am a salaried employee and have the interest of my clients at heart to ensure they get the best possible care – I can write a book about some very unfavourable outcomes due to poor/inappropriate health insurance cover or the total lack thereof in China as well as other parts of Asia.March 22, 2020 at 8:44 am #4853AnonymousGuest
Your implication however that health insurance companies prejudice the health of their clients to save a dollar is a general statement that can’t be applied across the board. There are good and bad insurance companies and practices in every country as there are good and bad examples of medical facilites and assistance companies but I for one know that we would never risk the health of our clients by suggesting sub-par treatment.
We are a for profit company and we therefore have an obligation to ensure that every dollar spent is spent in the most efficient manner to ensure the best possible outcome for the client. We also have to consider our other policy holders and ensure that the premiums we charge each year are within their expectations and not inflated by unnecesssary treatments that provide no benefit other than to inflate the bill.
With reference to medical treatment in China, everyone has anecdotal evidence of medical treatment going wrong in every part of the world but I have factual evidence that in my three years in this business in Shanghai we have only been involved in three cases of alledged medical malpractice and ironically all three cases were at Western orientated facilities.
Far from suggesting Chinese medical facilities are perfect, I am simply stating that they are not as bad as many scaremongers would have you think and evacuation is of course, no walk in the park. For a case to require air evacuation it is by implication extremely serious and will certainly not be improved by any additional delay in arriving at a medical facility and the additional trauma suffered through air travel and the logistics involved.
If good quality and effective treatment is available locally it should always be considered first to maximise the chances of a complete recovery for the patient. Certain conditions such as transplants would automatically qualify for evacuation but other conditions should rely on the opinions of those qualified to make them such as the local attending physician, physicians working with the assistance company and those intending to receive the client in the offshore location. Efforts have to be focused on achieving the best overall outcome for the client.March 22, 2020 at 8:45 am #4854AnonymousGuest
I am looking to buy medical insurance with maturnity coverage without waiting period. I have found a few plans that require 12-month waiting period.
I would greatly appreciate if someone can recommend a plan without waiting period.
Thank you in advance for your help.March 22, 2020 at 8:46 am #4855AnonymousGuest
For an individual medical plan almost all insurance companies will require a waiting period for maternity as they wish to avoid clients paying for one years insurance, having a baby and then not renewing their policy – it becomes a very expensive exercise.
We have a 12 month waiting period but our restriction is on paying the bills so provided the pregnancy occurs after the 4th month of the policy and lasts the normal duration we will cover the delivery provided the client has renewed the policy.
I’m sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
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