Teaching English in China as a foreign expat is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. But with any job working abroad, you need a savvy and commonsensical approach to planning your experience. And getting health insurance for teaching in China could be the best decision you make this year.

Although medical insurance isn’t mandatory in China for English teachers, you do not want to be caught cold without adequate medical coverage in case of a sudden illness or an accident. We want to give you a bit of insight into health insurance for teaching in China, and also a general overview of the teaching industry here, the qualifications you will need, and the salaries you can expect.

Foreign Expats Teaching English in China

Whether you are teaching in major Chinese cities such as Shanghai and Beijing or the more remote rural areas of the mainland, it will be an exciting and thought-provoking experience. 

Did you know that China is one of the biggest countries in the world for having English as a second language?

If you are considering moving to China to teach English, there are lots of different levels in terms of salary and teaching standards. However, the average monthly salary of an English teacher in China is between RMB 6,000 and RMB 16,000. Although that might seem like a steep disparity between the low and high salary amounts, here is a general rundown on the levels and salaries you can expect:

  • Public Schools – RMB 6,000 to RMB 10,000 per month
  • Private Tuition Centers – RMB 6,000 to RMB 16,000
  • Universities and Colleges – RMB 7,500 to RMB 10,000
  • International Schools – RMB 12,000 to RMB 30,000

The Holy Grail of teaching English in China is getting a job at an international school in terms of both prestige and salary. 

The requirements and qualifications can vary depending on the level of teaching. Generally speaking, you will need some kind of qualifications to teach English in most cases. However, some spurious agencies and schools might illegally hire native English-speaking teachers with no qualifications, but the salary will also reflect this.

Here are the requirements and qualifications you will need as a foreign expat teaching in China:

  • BA Degree or something similar or higher
  • TEFL Qualification or other official foreign language teaching certificate
  • If you are a native English speaker from the UK, US, Canada, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, or New Zealand 
  • Aged between 21 and 55 year’s old
  • No Criminal Record (background checks might be done)

Now you know more about the qualifications, and the salary figures involved, it’s time to look at the issue of health insurance for teaching in China.

Health Insurance for Teaching in China

If you are a foreign expat who already has a job teaching in China, you probably have some kind of health insurance policy as part of your employment. Now is a good time to check the small print of the policy to see what it covers in terms of health and medical benefits. 

You might find that your workplace health insurance policy only offers limited medical coverage. You do not want to get ill or suffer an accident and then find out that your current workplace health insurance policy doesn’t cover international hospitals and/or has low financial limits for medications and other treatments. You need to know this info now.

If you do not understand the jargon in your policy, you could ask your boss at work to explain things better. If this is a persistent problem, here are some questions that you, or anyone wondering about their workplace insurance policy coverage, should ask:

  1. In the event of getting sick when traveling to another province in China, or another country, will I be covered in my current policy?
  2. If I need to consult a doctor for something minor and I didn’t need the hospital, will I be able to claim for the doctor’s fee or any medication needed?
  3. If I am admitted to the hospital and my stay is a few days or a week, how much of a payout will I get from my insurer?
  4. If I have an untimely accident, what is the procedure from the insurer?
  5. Does my insurance policy cover mental health issues, dental services, maternity leave, or other similar services?
  6. Is there an Emergency Evacuation policy in my plan in the event of a medical emergency?

The answers to these questions should give you a good idea if you are covered for the most important issues. And if not, you might need to buy private health insurance for teaching in China.

Obtaining Private Health Insurance for Teaching in China 

It doesn’t matter where you are living. If you do not live in a country with a free national health industry, the importance of having medical insurance is immense. And if you are an expat living and working in places such as China, it doesn’t even bear thinking about to not be protected.

Did you know that most workplace insurance policies in China do not have Emergency Evacuation protection? This policy covers any charges incurred when being flown back to your home country in the event of an accident or severe illness. The money you would save alone from that issue makes having a private health insurance plan a must.

Here are the benefits of obtaining private health insurance for teaching in China:

  • Emergency Evacuation – As mentioned above, having emergency evacuation in your policy is a good reason alone to purchase a private health insurance policy in China.
  • Access to International Medical Facilities – Having your own private insurance plan will ensure you have access to the best selection of international-standard hospitals right across China.
  • English Speaking Doctors and Specialists – Having access to English-speaking doctors and specialists when you have medical problems in China is a peace of mind that will allow you to sleep soundly at night.
  • Tailor-Made Insurance Policies – You can choose from a selection of varying insurance policies that suit your needs. You will even have the option to tailor your policy to meet your exact specs and budget.

Although health insurance is not mandatory in China for teachers, it’s only common sense to protect yourself at all times. You might already have pre-existing health insurance from the educational facility you work for, but does this give you the coverage you need?

How Can I find a Private Health Insurance Plan for Expats in China?

Buying insurance policies is a bit different from buying other products. The sad truth is that you seriously need to beware when getting China insurance policy quotes from insurance companies and providers. Illness is not the only thing you need to protect yourself against.

Insurance companies get a bad reputation because they only care about signing you up for one of their policies. Very seldom does an insurance company have your best interests at heart. Sourcing insurance policies from providers and comparing them to find the best deal can be an arduous business. Especially if you have little to no experience with health insurance.

Make sure you hire the services of a reliable and reputable insurance broker to help you make the right decision. An insurance broker works for you, the client. A broker will obtain the best hand-picked selection of insurance policies in China that appeal to teachers. They will be on hand to help you to compare the policies so you get the best deal. Brokers are already experts on the local China insurance sector and will guide you impartially. Obtaining the services of a broker will save you lots of time, and also money. Because if you choose a policy that doesn’t meet your needs, it will cost much more in the long-term.

To recap a little bit. You need to check your current insurance policy if you already work for an educational facility in China as a teacher. If the insurance policy doesn’t meet your needs, hire a broker to ensure you are protected, both in terms of your policy and your wallet. Teaching in China can be a life-changing experience, especially when you are covered against any eventuality. Don’t let it be a bad life-changing experience.