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Expat Exchange - Do I need Health Insurance When Moving to China?
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Shanghai, China


Do I need Health Insurance When Moving to China?

By Betsy Burlingame

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: Is health insurance a requirement when you are moving to China? This article explores health insurance requirements for newcomers to China.

Moving to China as an expat or digital nomad involves navigating a new environment, culture, and set of regulations, one of which pertains to health insurance. China does not have a universal healthcare system that automatically covers foreigners, and while some expats may be covered by their employer's health insurance, others, especially digital nomads, will need to arrange their own coverage. It is essential for newcomers to ensure they have adequate health insurance upon arrival, as this is not only crucial for their well-being but may also be a requirement for obtaining residency. The specific requirements for health insurance coverage can vary depending on the type of visa and the region of China, but generally, it should cover a broad range of medical services and have a sufficient coverage amount to meet potential healthcare costs. The length of coverage should typically extend for the duration of your stay or until you are eligible to join the local healthcare system.

Does Expat Health Insurance Meet the Requirements?

Most expat health insurance plans are designed to meet the requirements set by various countries for incoming residents. However, it is important to verify that the plan you choose complies with Chinese regulations. This means checking that the minimum coverage amounts are met, and that the insurance is valid for the length of your stay or until you can access the local healthcare system. Additionally, some visas may have specific insurance requirements, so it's crucial to ensure that your expat health insurance plan aligns with these stipulations. It's advisable to consult with an insurance provider who has experience with policies for expats in China to ensure compliance.

Which local health insurers offer this type of insurance?

In China, there are several local health insurers that offer plans suitable for expats and digital nomads. These include major companies like Ping An Health, China Pacific Insurance, and Taikang Life Insurance. These insurers provide a range of products that can be tailored to meet the needs of foreigners living in China, including comprehensive inpatient and outpatient care, emergency services, and sometimes even international coverage. It's important to compare the plans offered by these insurers, taking into account factors such as coverage limits, network of hospitals, direct billing arrangements, and customer service, especially in English or other foreign languages.

Advice from Expats in China about Health Insurance

Experienced expats in China often emphasize the importance of obtaining a comprehensive health insurance plan that covers not only basic medical care but also potential emergencies and repatriation. They recommend choosing a plan with a high coverage limit to avoid out-of-pocket expenses, which can be significant in private hospitals. Additionally, it's important to look for a plan with a wide network of hospitals and clinics, as this ensures easier access to healthcare services. Expats also advise paying attention to the claims process and seeking plans that offer cashless hospital visits to simplify the payment process. Lastly, considering the language barrier, it's beneficial to have an insurance provider that offers customer support in your native language to help navigate any medical situations that may arise.

Expats Talk about Health Insurance in China

"Men in China over 55 and woman over 50 do not qualify for National Healthcare, so employers have to pay for private insurance. However, the coverage is comprehensive. You do need to get prior approval from the insurance company, but that is to be certain you go to the proper medical facility.," said one expat who moved to Shenzhen, China.

About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Shanghai, China

Allianz Care
Allianz Care

Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
Get Quote

Allianz CareAllianz Care

Flexible solutions allow you to tailor your cover to meet your needs and budget. Use Promocode: LIFE10 and get 10% off your international health insurance for life!
Get Quote

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