Your Must-know About Health Insurance

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  • #4522
    Anonymous
    Guest

    As an expatriate living abroad, it’s both more important and more difficult to understand the details of your health insurance. Here are six points to consider when shopping for coverage.

    Buy it before you need it.

    At the very least you need a health insurance policy that includes inpatient services and emergency evacuation. Outpatient services aren’t that expensive to pay out-of-pocket but add a lot to your premium.

    Emergency evacuation coverage is key.

    You never know where you’ll be when you need it. So make sure you have adequate emergency evacuation cover. And by adequate it means the overall limit should be sufficient to provide evacuation to the nearest center of medical excellence.

    Know your healthcare options and preferences.

    You need to consider your healthcare options when deciding how much and what kind of coverage you need. Will you use western, local or overseas facilities? For example, are you just going to use western clinics and want to evacuate offshore if you have a serious emergency? Will you use a mix of local and western facilities? Or will you head for those nearby countries that have top international hospitals but at much lower cost such as Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines?

    Place your coverage locally.

    If you’re not covered under your company’s global policy, then it’s best to place your coverage locally through one of the legally registered local insurance providers (e.g. AXA-Minmetals, Goodhealth, Ping An, GBG/TieCare). Placing your coverage locally has several advantages. First of all, you have local staff that speak the language, can help you navigate the local system and can negotiate with local hospitals and doctors. Secondly, in cases where direct billing isn’t an option then a good local provider will send agents directly to your clinic to pay the claims directly (for inpatient cases). And finally, with an offshore product, you won’t have any consumer protection. In China the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) regulates

    and maintains the legal and stable operation of the insurance industry. But if your provider isn’t here, they can’t help you.

    The devil is in the detail. Read your policy.

    Does it extend overseas? What does it cover? Where doesn’t it cover? For example, we

    offer worldwide coverage and then worldwide coverage excluding the U.S. The latter decreases your premium, but won’t cover your medical expenses if you want to go to the U.S. for treatment (with the exception of a small amount of emergency coverage). Sometimes people will bring domestic plans from Hong Kong and find out too late that these plans don’t actually cover everything they need. For example, there’s a higher probability of evacuation from mainland China and their Hong Kong-based policy won’t necessarily cover that.

    Insurance and the local healthcare system.

    Some local hospitals will handle direct billing (your insurance company will have a list), but most don’t. They have plenty of local paying business, so they don’t have a need to cater to foreigners. Even if you don’t use a local hospital it’s a good idea to find a Chinese doctor who speaks English. They’ll be able to navigate the local system and services for you should you need something a western clinic can’t provide.

    #4818
    Anonymous
    Guest

    As an expatriate living abroad, it’s both more important and more difficult to understand the details of your health insurance. Here are six points to consider when shopping for coverage.

    Buy it before you need it.

    At the very least you need a health insurance policy that includes inpatient services and emergency evacuation. Outpatient services aren’t that expensive to pay out-of-pocket but add a lot to your premium.

    Emergency evacuation coverage is key.

    You never know where you’ll be when you need it. So make sure you have adequate emergency evacuation cover. And by adequate it means the overall limit should be sufficient to provide evacuation to the nearest center of medical excellence.

    Know your healthcare options and preferences.

    You need to consider your healthcare options when deciding how much and what kind of coverage you need. Will you use western, local or overseas facilities? For example, are you just going to use western clinics and want to evacuate offshore if you have a serious emergency? Will you use a mix of local and western facilities? Or will you head for those nearby countries that have top international hospitals but at much lower cost such as Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines?

    Place your coverage locally.

    If you’re not covered under your company’s global policy, then it’s best to place your coverage locally through one of the legally registered local insurance providers (e.g. AXA-Minmetals, Goodhealth, Ping An, GBG/TieCare). Placing your coverage locally has several advantages. First of all, you have local staff that speak the language, can help you navigate the local system and can negotiate with local hospitals and doctors. Secondly, in cases where direct billing isn’t an option then a good local provider will send agents directly to your clinic to pay the claims directly (for inpatient cases). And finally, with an offshore product, you won’t have any consumer protection. In China the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) regulates

    and maintains the legal and stable operation of the insurance industry. But if your provider isn’t here, they can’t help you.

    The devil is in the detail. Read your policy.

    Does it extend overseas? What does it cover? Where doesn’t it cover? For example, we

    offer worldwide coverage and then worldwide coverage excluding the U.S. The latter decreases your premium, but won’t cover your medical expenses if you want to go to the U.S. for treatment (with the exception of a small amount of emergency coverage). Sometimes people will bring domestic plans from Hong Kong and find out too late that these plans don’t actually cover everything they need. For example, there’s a higher probability of evacuation from mainland China and their Hong Kong-based policy won’t necessarily cover that.

    Insurance and the local healthcare system.

    Some local hospitals will handle direct billing (your insurance company will have a list), but most don’t. They have plenty of local paying business, so they don’t have a need to cater to foreigners. Even if you don’t use a local hospital it’s a good idea to find a Chinese doctor who speaks English. They’ll be able to navigate the local system and services for you should you need something a western clinic can’t provide.

    #5556
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I need HK bank account but is there a way to open one from Shanghai? Might be a stupid question, but I couldn’t really find any solid info on that.

    #5557
    Anonymous
    Guest

    If you have a HK company, HSBC will allow a video conference opening from shanghai. They charge a fee for this but it is possible.

    #5558
    Anonymous
    Guest

    No company. The reason I want it is because I make some extra cash through freelancing and get paid to PayPal. I had to create Chinese PayPal but the fee on bank transfers is pretty bad, 40USD + whatever bank charges for Wire Transfer. As a student this adds up and sometimes eats 20-30% of what I earn doing that. There is option to make transfers to HK bank accounts with no fee at all.

    Another question, do you need to have HK resident permit to open personal account there? I would really consider flying there and opening bank account if you don’t need resident permit. I know in China I was able to open Chinese bank account with 30 day temp Visa before I got my student permit.

    Also if anyone have experience with how to withdraw money from PayPal in China easiest way I would be glad to hear them. Maybe there is a better way.

    #5559
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Don’t forget to bring $5k for opening bank account in HK.

    You also would need credit card statement with your address on that.

    Finally, why don’t buy something on ebay for that kind of money ?

    #5560
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Damn, why it’s so expensive?

    That’s what I actually do lately, pay with that PayPal for **** I buy overseas since I just can’t get over myself to pay 50-60USD fees to withdraw 150-300USD. Before that I would try to make sure I have at least 500-600USD balance, but that’s not a regular income so sometimes it take some time to get that much added up on PayPal.

    Oh well.

    #5561
    Anonymous
    Guest

    /profile/66-ltsaw/?do=hovercard” data-mentionid=”66″ href=”<___base_url___>/profile/66-ltsaw/” rel=””>@LtSaw Well while you get free withdrawal to Hong Kong account, you can withdraw in HKD only. And Paypal will kill you on the foreign exchange…Then you need to withdraw from your Hong Kong account if you want to use the money in China, either by wire transfer or ATM withdrawal, extra fees in both cases.

    Wait for Paypal balances to build up before making withdrawals, and use banks such as ICBC which do not charge for incoming transfers (that was the case last time I used this two years ago). Then the Paypal fees won’t seem so large and will definitely be less troublesome than maintaining an account in Hong Kong

    #5562
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Theoretically you could. Hang Seng is a good bet. Don’t go with Standard chart, because that’s what I did, and they sat on it for 3 months.

    Basically you can get the branch manager to witness your signings and they send it to HK for processing. But my attempt fell apart, because the RM in HK didn’t push it as I wasn’t buying her shitty wealth planning products with my money all in Singapore. Inertia, indifference, if you are persistent then yes, it’s been done before.

    #5563
    Anonymous
    Guest

    I opened an account in HK before with Hang Seng Bank, with my passport and handphone bill statement for 3 months (with my name and shanghai address on it). No minimum fees required.

    But getting that money (in HKD) into China will cost you anyway…

    #5564
    Anonymous
    Guest

    The bankers are not dumb, they’re going to get you. I looked at many ways to transfer money from my U.S. accounts to China, and 3% charge is the cheapest I’ve ever found. I even checked Citibank and asked if I open an account in the U.S., can I withdrawal at Citibank in China. “Nope”, they operate separately, so you still have to pay the fees.

    #5565
    Anonymous
    Guest

    That’s only for their “Preferred Banking” account. They have many tiers of accounts. The most basic ones don’t charge ANYTHING if your balance is above 10,000 HKD which is a tiny amount and only 60 HKD a month if your balance is below that.

    HSBC has almost an identical portfolio of accounts. The Premier account needs a balance of one million or else you pay around 400 HKD per month, but you can choose one of their other accounts if you want to keep a lower balance. For me it’s fine because I have the majority of my money with HSBC in HK including my stock portfolio which all counts towards the one million balance.

    #5566
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Tempted to switch to HSBC Premier, Standard Chartered Priority has been a real bitch to me in SG, Shanghai and HK. I currently have a charge dispute with them and they think a Priority customer is gonna stiff them of 4000HKD.

    They told me the processing time was between 45-120 days. Fkers. If I didn’t already have stocks in the account I can’t liquidate now I’d totally clean out the account and leave!

    #5567
    Anonymous
    Guest

    ^ To be honest HSBC aren’t much better but they have the global reach which is so convenient. I can move money around from China to HK to London all free of any charges, instantly.

    If you are a Premier customer in one country, you are a Premier customer in every country you hold accounts regardless of balance. So I could have 5 dollars in my UK HSBC account but still be a Premier customer.

    But that’s about the only good thing.

    #5568
    Anonymous
    Guest

    Just check with HSBC, they can help you.

    But be aware. HSBC’s service is the worst banking service in the world.

    Their workers change on a daily base. And if you think HSBC China is headache, be prepared for the worst in HK. Hang Seng Bank is unfortunately not an option since it’s owned and operated by HSBC.

    The only advantage for HSBC is when you are a premier customer you can send money

    between your own accounts through online banking in realtime.

    Suspended services without warning and new security terms without sending you the updated security key are the norm. Service is just something they write on their adverts.

    The hotline staff are always clueless. They give you a relationship manager, who will later change every month or two. And especially for HK, the staff there believes the world’s size is just 3 blocks around their branch and ask you if you can come over to sign documents, just because they cut your transfer limit. Compared to the Shanghai staff the HK people are not even motivated in solving problems at all.

    I have the feeling HSBC HK is just an internet cafe for locals to pass time and get at least a good paying white collar job.

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