Living and working in a foreign country such as China can be a rewarding yet challenging experience. The longer you stay in another country, the more you start to think about your long-term plans. Having a solid health insurance plan is something that every expat in China needs. But are you choosing international or China local insurance plans?

Life is all about choices. And some of the most important choices in life are in regards to your health. Find out whether you should choose local China insurance plans or an international plan for your medical insurance needs.

Why Do I Need Medical Insurance in China?

In 2018, it was reported that over 600,000 foreign expats were living and working in China. It’s quite a large number and one that is continually rising yearly.

China is a country with a rich tapestry of culture and history. From immensely busy and vibrant cities such as Shanghai to the rolling hills and stunning countryside terrain. China is a veritable paradise for expats looking to work or live abroad.

However, China has some real pollution issues, and with the different culture, and language barriers, it’s only common sense that you would require health insurance. The benefits of having health insurance in China are plentiful. It’s an absolute must. But what about choosing international or China local insurance? What is the best choice and what options are available?

Do you know there are massive differences between the local health system and the private medical industry in China?

There are many varying levels of health care in China. The health insurance plan you choose will dramatically affect which medical facilities and doctors you will gain access to. If you are a foreign expat in China and you do not have a viable medical insurance plan, you are playing with fire. It’s important that you get access to the best international hospitals in China and also English-speaking doctors if you are an expat. Who knows the unforeseen circumstances that could happen? And you do not want to be caught out with no insurance if you unexpectedly get ill or have an accident.

So, which kind of insurance plan should you get? Local or international?

Choosing International or China Local Insurance?

Making the right choices in life is always directly linked to the success you have. And choosing correctly when deciding which health insurance plan to purchase in China is at the top of the list. If you are already working for a company in China and have health insurance at work, we would recommend that you check out the small print in your policy to find out what you are covered against. Many workplace insurance plans only cover basic treatments in certain medical facilities. Check that first before you make any decisions.

If you have an inadequate medical insurance plan at work, it could be a recipe for disaster. Alternatively, if you are only covered by the local China public health system, the services will no doubt be inferior to what you are accustomed to in the West. The China public health system is severely overrun and overcrowded in every way.

As an expat in China, you need to be choosing international or China local insurance.

Local China Insurance Plans 

When we say ‘Local China Insurance’ we are not necessarily talking about the public health system. Both International and China local insurance plans are private medical insurance policies. They are nothing to do with the public health system. Do not misunderstand this. It’s in your best interests to have a private health insurance plan as an expat in China.

Local China Insurance is basically a private insurance policy that only covers your medical and health needs in China. If you have long-term plans to live in China, this might be the best policy to purchase. Local plans focus totally on health care in China and will give you access to some of the best medical facilities in China and English-speaking doctors and specialists. And they are also the more affordable option when compared to international plans. Obviously, there are many tiers and policy options, but this is the general gist of Local China Insurance plans.

Benefits of Local China Insurance Plans

Here are some of the main benefits of obtaining a local China insurance plan when living and working in China as an expat:

  • Affordability – Local China insurance plans have much cheaper yearly premiums than international plans. This is the ideal plan if you are staying in China for the foreseeable future.
  • Access to International Services – You will gain access to the best choice of international standard doctors and medical facilities in China. The level will depend on your policy type and tier, but access to this standard of medical services is paramount for foreign expats living and working in China.
  • Better Than China Public Health System – By having a Local China insurance plan, you will not have to deal with the madness of the public health care system in China. This is worth the premiums alone.
  • Covered Against Illness and Accidents – You do not want to get left out in the cold in a foreign country due to a sudden illness or an accident. You will be covered against these unforeseen circumstances.

International Medical Insurance Policies

What are your long-term plans? Are you staying in China for a few years or are you planning for this to be a working and living experience for a few months? You must outline your future plans so choosing international or China local insurance plans are clearer.

If China is just a pit-stop for a few months to live and work, an international insurance plan might better suit your needs. Even if you are living in China for the long-term but also partake in a spot of international travel on regular basis, international health insurance plans are the most viable option.

International medical insurance policies are the right choice for those who like to travel or those who are planning to work in other destinations across the world. With international insurance plans, you are covered not only in China but worldwide. Okay, the premiums will be more expensive than a local China insurance plan, but that’s only natural.

You will also find that international insurance plans can give you access to more features than a local plan. For example, international insurance policies have ‘Emergency Evacuation’ features that will allow you to relocate to the nearest appropriate medical facility if a local one cannot meet your needs. The costs might be higher than a local plan, but you pay for what you get.

Benefits for Having an International Health Insurance Policy 

Here are some of the key benefits of obtaining an international health insurance policy:

  • Worldwide Coverage – The key factor for having international insurance is that you are covered worldwide and will not have to change your insurance plans when you leave China. You can move to any part of the world and you are still covered.
  • Beating the Public Hospital Ques – The best part about an international plan is you will circumnavigate the public health care system in China. You will beat the cures, have less waiting times, and generally be treated to a higher standard.
  • Access to International Services – You will get 24-hour access to the best medical facilities in China. This will include the best specialists and doctors that speak English. This is one of the most important features of having a proper health insurance plan.
  • Additional Services – By having an international plan, you will get more additional services than a local plan. There will be an emergency evacuation feature as part of the policy and other features that set it aside from local insurance and the public sector.

Using a Broker for Choosing International or Local China Insurance Plans 

Now you fully understand the differences between choosing international or local China insurance plans, you need to act fast. Although there are dozens of insurance companies and provide offering China health insurance plans, the best option is to utilize the services of a reliable China insurance broker.

Brokers are the complete opposite of insurance companies and providers. The insurance company’s job is to sign you up for one of their health insurance policies. That is their main focus as a business. Alternatively, an insurance broker works directly for you and your best interests. It’s an insurance broker’s job to find you a hand-picked selection of viable health insurance plans that suit your needs and budget. The broker will give you impartial advice on the best plan to take based on your specifications alone.

To find the best selection of international and local China insurance plans, we recommend that you piggyback on the knowledge and experience of a broker so you can make the correct choice.