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Healthcare in China

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Healthcare systems differ from country to country. The healthcare system in China is made up of publicly run Medicare and private health insurance. Here's some information to help you better understand how the Chinese healthcare system works and what it means for you.



When moving to China, expat health insurance is an important item to research. The healthcare system in China is vast and varies greatly depending on whether you are in a large city or a rural area. Here's some information to help you better understand China expat health insurance and what it means for you as an expatriate.

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Hospitals in China

Hospitals in China vary from state-of-the-art facilities to small public venues with unsafe conditions and questionable care. Doing research before you head to a medical facility is paramount, especially if you are staying in a rural area where health services can be scarce. Public hospitals generally do not accept health insurance in China, but the fees are quite low compared to what you might pay in a Western facility. Waits can be long, though, and depending on the hospital in question, medications and equipment may not be available. Some public hospitals have VIP wards with better access to treatments and higher fees, but issues still arise often for foreigners. Foreign-run hospitals are, in comparison, much more up-to-date, often employ Western doctors educated in more advanced techniques, and accept expat health insurance in China. Fees in these hospitals are quite costly, so if you plan to visit be sure that you understand the cost and whether they will accept your China international health insurance plan. Note Medical Providers in China will not provide treatment until payment in full is made, or adequate medical insurance cover is established.

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Doctors in China

For well visits or to see a doctor about a minor ailment or illness, working with a general practitioner is advisable over visiting a hospital and requesting a check-up, although not all will accept China expat health insurance. Usually working through area clinics, GPs can handle annual visits, physicals, and advise when an illness or injury is suspected.

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Prescriptions in China

Prescriptions written overseas will not be accepted in China, so if you are currently taking medication, be sure to set up an appointment upon arrival to have a new prescription written. New prescriptions are generally covered by China expat health insurance. Pharmacies are recognizable by their signs with a green cross. They are plentiful, but often do not staff English-speaking employees. If you have a prescription from a Chinese doctor, they will easily be able to fill the request but your instructions and safety information will probably be in Chinese. Over-the-counter medications have the generic name on the box so you should be able to sniff out what you need, but again all instructions will be in Chinese. If you wish to have familiar medications you may be able to find those brands at a foreign-run hospital or clinic, but you will pay dearly for the imports.

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Public hospitals all have 24-hour assistance available in case of an emergency. However, ambulances in China often do not carry any medical equipment and the staff does not need to have medical training. If you are in a truly life-threatening situation, it may be better to take a taxi or other form of transportation to a better-outfitted foreign-run hospital that accepts your health insurance in China.

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International Health Insurance

With hit-or-miss medical care and unusual procedures that often confuse foreigners, working with expat health insurance in China is essential. Help keep costs down and have access to more trustworthy care by purchasing expat health insurance while in China. Compare and choose from over 3,000 health insurance policies for coverage available to you as an expat. Get a quote now.

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