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China Access Team

How much does it cost to see a doctor in China?

How much does it cost to see a doctor in China? 150 150 China Access Team

How much does it cost to see a doctor in China?

That will primarily depend on what medical facility you decide to go to. To remind our readers again, there are generally 2 types of medical facilities in China: government run hospitals (public medical care) as well as international type private clinics and hospitals which are quite often foreign funded too and have several partnerships with overseas hospitals.

Is medical expensive in China?

Lets start our analysis with public medical facilities. Best of those are referred to as Grade 3 hospitals. Social insurance will cover expenses in those. Quite a few of those typically also have VIP or International department (social insurance in China won’t be covering expenses in this case though). Most well-know this type of hospitals are Ruijin Hospital上海市瑞金医院 and Huashan Hospital上海华山医院 in Shanghai as well as Beijing Union Hospital 北京协和医院 and China-Japan Friendship Hospital中日友好医院 in Beijing.

Below is executive summary for getting health treatment in public government run hospitals in China.

Cost of health treatment in China

If you are looking for giving birth in public hospitals costs do typically range somewhere between CNY 3,000-8,000 in general section and CNY 10,000-35,000 in a VIP section. Tier 1-2 cities tend to have larger costs compared to smaller cities.

How much do health procedures cost in private hospitals in China?

Similarly to public government run Tier 3 hospitals, this larger depends on city where you live and what kind of medical facility you go to. Cities like Beijing and Shanghai have higher medical bills for patient for similar treatments that were obtained in Tier 2-3 cities. For example a well known chain of private clinics such as Parkway Health will easily charge you around RMB 1,500 for a general family doctor consultation in Shanghai. But drive 100km over to Suzhou and visit Parkway Health in Suzhou, costs will already be around 10-30% less. Refer to our article on what private hospitals in China for expats there are to learn more.

While we did cover costs of giving birth in China in our article here, lets analyze how much RMB will it run for you for regular treatments as well as dental procedures from several well known international clinics and hospitals. Generally speaking, foreigners and expats in China shall expect to spend around RMB 620-1,150 for a regular consultation with family doctor in those while specialists will be more within RMB 810-1,530 range, including things such as physiological and occupational therapies. Overnight stays typically require RMB 3,050-4,590 of costs per night while inpatient surgeries can greatly vary between RMB 5,100 and RMB 150,000 per incident, all depending on complexity of medical condition. Let’s dig into cost estimations that are provided directly by hospitals and that are usually quite accurate. NOTE: quite often hospitals can preferential rates with several insurance companies and you might be seeing bills with less zeros if you have insurance that supports direct billing services.  

Some of the most popular international hospitals in Beijing are United Family – often referred to as BJU, followed by OASIS International. Below are costs estimations published by BJU for regular health procedures.

United Family Health Treatment Costs

Source: Beijing United Family Hospital website

Surprisingly, Shanghai United Family follows different price strategy and on average around 30-40% lower in price. More details below.

Cost of health procedures in Shanghai

Source: Shanghai United Family Hospital website.

Give or take but places like OASIS or Vista clinic in Beijing, Parkway in Shanghai will roughly be in the same price range. There is however a number of medical facilities that will run you in even lower bills than Shanghai United Family. Examples would be Hong Kong Medical Center in capital and Jiahui or Sino-United in Shanghai. Below is for reference on average costs structure in Jiahui Health.

Health care costs in Shanghai

Source: Jiahui Health website

As you see costs to see a doctor in China in private facilities can vary largely too. Always make surveyor health insurance covers medical facility you are about to go to, preferably even with direct billing services so you can avoid hassle of claims bills for reimbursement. Get in touch with us to know more about options available for you & your family and what can suit your situation best.

Is Healthcare Free in China for Expats?

Is Healthcare Free in China for Expats? 150 150 China Access Team

Is Healthcare Free in China for Expats?

China has universal free healthcare for it’s citizens. As an employed foreigner in China you re entitled to participate in this through social insurance. It is a mandatory requirement for all employed expats in the country and get directly deducted from your pay check every month. Portion varies and depends largely on your monthly pay check but as a general rule of thumb it is somewhere between 7-15%.

How can foreigners get social insurance in China?

Social insurance in China consists of 5 pillars and different pillars are paid up by different party, either by you, or by your employer or by both. Below graph represents what parts of social insurance will be contributed by which party.

Social insurance in China for expats

Source: Hr One Website

It is true that there has been many cases particularly in Shanghai where foreigners and expats managed to omit signing up for mandatory social insurance but rather spend saved money on private medical scheme instead. Ultimately, that decision is on you and subject to whether your HR approves it or no.

Difference between private health insurance and social insurance in China

Most noticeable difference is that social insurance covers far more things such as housing fund and pension that you can start receiving after 15 years of contribution. However, if we put those aside lets see what are major difference on health insurance side.

  • social insurance will only reimburse medical expenses in public, government run medical facilities. Not even VIP or International sections. So if you are accustomed to international hospitals like United Family or Parkway – social insurance won’t be much use for you.

See below more details on what are popular international hospitals in China for expats

  • only in very few occasions social insurance covers 100% of medical expenses Thus, be prepared that certain medical bills will require copayment from your side, this typically ranges between 10-30%.
  • in many cases contribution to social insurance gets more expensive than getting a good private medical insurance. Take for example an average expat with RMN 40,000 salary. Average contribution of 10% will be RMB 4,000 on a monthly basis, that is RMB 48,000 per year. For that much money expatriate can get a family insurance plan for 2-3 people (assuming cover in for China only, in&outpatient and for average ages of 30-35yo).

Check out below article on more details about costs of health insurance in China for foreigners

  • while in most cases private medical insurance is cheaper in costs, it will also provide you with far higher limits and coverage without copayments for medical expenses. Oh, and don’t forget that you will have access to private medical facilities so no need to get up early and queue up for a ticket in a hospital 🙂

For more information about health insurance for expats in China please get in touch through this page so one of our consultants can guide you through the options.

William Russell Health Insurance China

William Russell Health Insurance China 150 150 China Access Team

William Russell China health insurance for foreigners.

William Russell supplies global market with plans since 1992. Originally out of UK they have regional office in Hong Kong and Thailand to service Asia-Pacific region.

Although you will not be able to enjoy much of direct billing services with William Russell health insurance plan in China,  their plans would probably be among top 5 most comprehensive ones with many benefits fully covered under the overall limit of the insurance policy and not separate sub-limits. This also has a big impact on the premium side for the higher end plans William Russell offers. Especially for members over the age of 50, premium loading on health insurance in that case is quite significant and is much higher than industry average among other insurance providers.

William Russell offers one of the best direct billing services in Hong Kong and Thailand, apart from those two markets expenses in other places will have to be on a pay and claim basis, where member has to carry those out of pocket and then submit all the documents together with claim form for reimbursement. Claim reimbursement is usually processed within 5-10 working days depending on the complexity of the medical records and language they are in.

Below you will find general summary of William Russell health insurance policies, please get in touch with us if you re interested to learn more about health insurance in China and what plans might suit your unique situation best.

Morgan Price Health Insurance

Morgan Price Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

Morgan Price insurance for expats in China

Morgan Price plans currently can only be purchased out of UK, they haven’t passed yet license requirements to freely sell their plans in China Mainland to its residents. Thus leaving quite a big gap on service issues such as lack on direct billing and no service team to help you locally.

Despite those disadvantages, they have been supplying global expatriate insurance market with medical plans almost in all countries worldwide. 24/7 English speaking hotline and ability to settle bills with major hospitals in certain countries is a big advantage for foreigners looking at their plans. Below is a summary of what insurance plans Morgan Price currently offers, all can be administered in either of the 3 currencies you prefer to choose.

Morgan Price Insurance Plans

If you are an expatiate in China looking for health and medical insurance for you and your family please get in touch with us so we can help you finding the right protection as well as compare it to what policies Morgan Price has to offer and if it is applicable to you.

Source: Morgan Price Website

Pingan Health Insurance

Pingan Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

Pingan (Ping An) health insurance for foreigners in China

Pingan is considered one of the most popular local insurance providers in China among expats and foreigners. Established in 1988 in Shenzhen, Pingan Health division however is headquartered in Shanghai. They supply market with various options but not limited to as below:

  • health and medical insurance plans
  • corporate liability insurance for China companies
  • investment linked (annuity) schemes, sometimes those are also referred as retirement insurance in China
  • accidental and disability insurance plans

Pingan Health and Medical Insurance Plans

As for medical plans that are available to foreigners, there are only 2 sets of those with certain tailoring allowed. Access series will be valid only in public (government run) medical facilities such as Peking Union Hospital or China Japan Friendship Hospitals in Beijing or for example Huashan or Ruin Hospitals in Shanghai. Below is an overview of Access series of plans, Executive series has slightly higher limits on each benefit plus will be valid in most private and internationals hospitals throughout China.

Pingan Health Insurance in China









Much lower limits compared to international health insurance providers but so is the price of Pingan Insurance Plans in China. One comes as a result of another one. Get in touch with us if you are interested to learn more about their plans and how they are compared to other popular options on the market these days for expats.

Source: Pingan Health Website

Regency for Expats Insurance

Regency for Expats Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

Regency for Expats Insurance in China

Regency for Expats is a relatively new insurance provider out of Caribbean Islands. They have their own parent company as a reinsurers and issue all the policies out of Central American, typically area of cover is Worldwide except US but they do have global plans too if needed. Expats and foreigners tend to buy insurance to cover without US as it is more cost effective.

As they did not manage to obtain license to sell their health insurance plans in China, you will have to purchase it out of their HQ which is in Saint Kitts islands. Only 4 plans available without much possibility to adjust the benefits. On the other hand, plans are quite rich in core and cover certain things which you won’t find from other companies such as expenses related to acts of terrorism, or even kidnapping should you face such a situation.

Regency for Expats doesn’t support any direct billing services for outpatient care which means any doctor visits under the plans are on a pay and claim basis. Enrollment on the plans is relatively easy as they don’t ask any past medical history to be disclosed. That means all claims will be investigated and reconfirmed with treating doctors whether first day of symptoms for your visit happened while the plan was active or prior to it. Claim reimbursement will depend on this. Below is a summary of their insurance plans.

Having Baby in China as Expat

Having Baby in China as Expat 150 150 China Access Team

Giving Birth in China as a Foreigner. Insurance vs Maternity Packages

This article will only cover health insurance plans that cover maternity benefits for giving birth in China as an expat, overview of those hospitals that are fitted to support giving birth as well as how all of it is different if you simply purchase a maternity package from a medical facility. 

Having baby in China as an Expat – First Steps

First of all, it worth mentioning that if you are looking for expat health insurance in China to cover medical expenses associated with giving birth, all of those should be purchased in advance. As of January 2020 there are no insurance plans in China that do not have waiting period, last option was MSH but they have cancelled that plan. Right now most of them will have a minimum waiting period of 6 months and a maximum of 12 months. Everything else not related to maternity is not subject to this waiting period so in case you get cough, cold or need some physiotherapy for instance, those shall be covered during first year regardless of waiting period for maternity benefits. There are however some maternity insurance options that will cover pregnancy expenses from day 1 but member can’t be pregnant at the point of purchasing a plan, can however get pregnant right after and then costs will be covered during the 1st policy year.

Waiting periods for maternity insurance plan in China

Pay attention to the wording of the waiting period under your insurance plan, in other words – exact definition. Most of those have general waiting period. Let’s take for example 12 months. That means a person can get pregnant before waiting period is gone but only those expenses that happen after 12 months will be covered. If you have such a plan then ideal scenario is to get pregnant towards the end of the first policy year so first ultrasounds and child delivery itself will be covered during the second year.

Some insurance companies have a “no pregnancy waiting period”, usually those that have a 6 months time restriction. That means that pregnancy should only occur after 6 months of waiting period is gone. Treating doctor will have to confirm on medical records when pregnancy first got diagnosed. Get in touch with us to lear more what maternity plan might suit your situation best and make sure expenses in your preferred hospital will be covered.

I am pregnant already, what are my options?

While getting health insurance to cover child birth in China is not an option any more, there are 2 options that are workable at this moment.

1 – get a medical insurance to cover medical expenses for anything not related to maternity. In most cases companies like Allianz and Now Health will even cover complications of pregnancy should anything go wrong during child delivery in China. This will also allow you to get your baby covered as soon as he/she is born. Refer to health insurance costs in China article to learn more what to expect when considering this.

2- get a maternity package from an international hospital in China. Whatever maternity package costs are, those are roughly 1:1 to carrying medical expenses out of pocket as you go. More on that below.

Maternity Packages from International Hospitals for Foreigners in China

If you happen to live in Tier 1 or Tier 2 city in China, there are some very good international OBGYN hospitals that explicitly deal with giving birth in China, foreigners can look into those as an option for having baby. Very often those have already pre set maternity packages that you can get once already pregnant. Keep in mind, it won’t cover complications should child for example be born pre mature or required to be put in ICU etc., this is what insurance is for. maternity package in most cases will still cover complication of birth related to mother which is still better than no cover at all. If you need help and discounts on arranging any of that please get in touch so we can help.

What hospital are suited for giving birth in China as an expat?

Jiahui International Hospital in Shanghai has already become one of the most popular international hospitals for foreigners in Shanghai. They do also have their own fertility clinic that offers maternity package that currently being sold for RMB 45,000 traditional delivery and RMB 70,000 for c-section. More on this on Jiahui Hospital Shanghai

American Sino Hospital in Shanghai is another very popular option for expats on giving birth in Shanghai. Compared to Jiahui Health, they have much more options available as the entity hospital is just focused on OBGYN treatments.

Giving Birth in China as Expat

Delivery packages are ranging between RMB 45,000 and 90,000 depending on how comprehensive you want it to be. They even have maternity packages just for pre or post natal only without child delivery, those are somewhere in the range of RMB 5,000 and RMB 20,000. They also partner with several smaller tier clinics such as Worldpath International Shanghai and help them with their clients, in particular with Worldpath you can still undergo pre natal checks at there location in Lujiazui but for giving birth (child delivery itself) they will arrange you to be sent to American Sino’s facility in Xuhui hospital. American Sino Shanghai and Worldpath International Shanghai

United Family Shanghai Hospital offers various maternity packages too. Just pre-natal will run you for RMB 28,000 only. Traditional (vaginal) child delivery will be RMB 59,000 while if you get this together with pre natal then total will be only RMB 82,000 per package. Going further for section+pre natal will be coming towards RMB 111,000 price tag. On top of those they do also sell pre-conception, early pregnancy check up as well as late stage prenatal check up for foreigners giving birth in Shanghai. United Family Shanghai (UFH Shanghai)

Ferguson Health Shanghai (previously known as Read Leaf Hospital) is ready to help expats and foreigners with child delivery regardless how complicated it can be. Dr Ferguson is ready to provide you not only with maternity packages that range somewhere between RMB 40,000 and RMB 120,000 but also teaching classes on various different topics you might be interested about giving birth in China for expats. At some point they even used to provide pre natal yoga classes for you to get familia with body movements and restrictions during pregnancy. Ferguson Health Shanghai

OASIS International Hospital Beijing. Giving birth in Beijing for expats, you definitely will come across this medical facility as it is one of the biggest and well equipped international hospitals in Beijing to assist you with having baby in China. Maternity packages range somewhere between RMB 45,000 and RMB 85,000 while there is whole bunch of other things available too such as pre natal packages on their own as well as pre conception check ups which are one of the most comprehensive in the city, below are details. OASIS Hospital Beijing

AmCare Hospital Beijing will be a slightly cheaper version of OASIS. They do have less maternity packages available but are still able to provide routine delivery and pre natal checks for around RMB 60,000. While for actual giving birth they will send you to a main hospital in Haidian district, regular ultrasounds and check ups can be arranged in any of the other 4 clinics across the city. AmCare Hospital Beijing

Beijing Antai Hospital. Those of us who are looking to have a water birth in Beijing have came across that medical facility on a number of forums. One of the very few places in capital that can arrange it and very reasonably priced for such services, will run you just a bit over RMB 35,000 for a package. Antai Hospital Beijing

Eden Hospital Beijing. Probably one of the biggest hospitals operating in downtown that are privately owned. Compared to regular players like OASIS or United Family they don’t employ as many foreign doctors but are still providing services to hundreds of foreigners in Beijing. Pre natal check ups and giving birth in Beijing with them will cost you around RMB 60,000. Eden Hospital Beijing 

Beijing United Family Hospital (BJU). When it comes to giving birth in China as an expat, United Family been on the market longest amongst other private medical facilities. Very similarly priced as Shanghai. Pre natal and regular giving birth in this hospital will cost you around RMB 83,000. Should you wish to switch to Caesarean section as a way to having a child then costs will be slightly above RMB 110,000 per package. United Family Beijing 

Raffles Medical is a huge chain of medical facilities across the entire Asia. In China they have hospitals and clinic in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chongqing, Tianjin, Chengdu and Shenzhen. While pre and post natal care will be available in all of them, only hospitals can help you with child delivery in China. Others will refer you to their partner local hospital which is still a good options because they will be the one arranging everything on your behalf. Raffles Medical China

Support from community when having a child in China

If you are particularly new to China and want to get some suggestion or hints from a fellow foreigners in the country regarding particular issues on giving birth in China then following links might be helpful. Major cities like Shanghai and Beijing have a relatively large expat communities where you can benefit from a local knowledge of a fellow expat. Shanghaimamas is one example of a community of local expatriate females sharing hints with each other on how to best handle their kids in the city. ShanghaiFamily is another great resource of getting best knowledge of the local life from expatriates in the city. Beijing-Kids will be a similar online source for getting information about having children in China as a foreigner in case you live in the capital. EasyExpat and ExpatArrivals are rather general forum based websites where expats and foreigners can ask questions to be answered by other expats, those are not limited to a particular city but rather cover China nationwide.

David Shield Health Insurance

David Shield Health Insurance 150 150 China Access Team

David Shield Health Insurance in China

Founded in late 1990s with offices across Europe and Oceania, David Shield provides a unique one stop solution where members don’t have to deal with paying out of pocket or submitting claims for reimbursement. All of this is available with David Card (sometimes referred to as Passportcard) where members shall notify insurance company prior getting outpatient treatment and David Shield will fund the card with the right amount (available only outside of US). It is basically a MasterCard that will be funded with the money for you to pay at the medical facility once the pre authorization is completed.

David Shield has a team of dedicated medical professionals should their clients decide to go for a second medical opinion or in case they simply wish to talk to them first before scheduling appointment at any medical institution.

  • maximum duration for claim reimbursement – 5 days. Once they receive all the supporting documents
  • in case there is any violation of service agreement, David Shield will pay out $25 to its clients once the internal investigation is completed
  • one of the few companies that has toll free Skype hotline

David Shield is by far the most popular insurance solution among the global Jewish community. Plans vary a lot in its benefits but only options available for cover area is either Worldwide or Worldwide excluding US. Davidcard or Passport card is also known as a real time insurance solution which pays out medical expenses without any need for claiming them back.

Below is summary of what David Shield and Passport Card health insurance plans look like for clients.

Cigna Health Insurance in China

Cigna Health Insurance in China 150 150 China Access Team

Cigna Health Insurance in China

In China Cigna promotes health insurance plans under 2 different entities: Cigna Global whose plans are out of Europe with servicing from UAE and Cigna CMB. Last one is being a local entity that is in joint venture with China Merchants Bank and that was designed explicitly to service China residents. Expats and foreigners in China can purchase either of those Cigna Insurance plans.

Cigna CMB Health Insurance for Foreigners and Expatriates

Cigna CMB is one of the largest players on health insurance market in China when it comes to large corporate accounts such as international schools and MNCs. Which is why a lot of expats in China still prefer to buy Cigna insurance plan once they leave their employers and need to get insurance for China on their own. Particularly because of years of outstanding services both within and outside of China. Some of the most noticeable remarks of Cigna are:

  • outstanding direct billing both in and outside of the country
  • one of the highest dental limits of the market, there is an add-on that has RMB 30k limit for your dental visits
  • relatively good price increase each year of around 5% during the past 8 years (excluding age band increases)


  • individual plans are by far less attractive compared to another regular International insurance provider in China
  • price could be more competitive for the benefits they offer in comparison to other major players like Allianz or Aetna

Below is executive summary of what 3 insurance plans from Cigna looks like. If you are looking to get Cigna insurance plan for you and your family please get in touch.

Cigna Health Insurance China

Source: Cigna China Website at , Cigna Corporate plans overview

Bupa Health Insurance in China

Bupa Health Insurance in China 150 150 China Access Team

Bupa China Expat Health Insurance

Same as most other international insurance providers in China, Bupa partnered with one of the local players Alltrust (AIC), most of which servicing is done out of Beijing where the entity is headquartered. While traveling overseas or in case any international assistance is needed members will be contacting Bupa Global team which is available worldwide 24/7. For US they have partnership with Blue Cross Blue Shield that helps them servicing clients in States. So expats in China can buy Bupa insurance plan that can either service them locally in the country or including US.

If you take average premium ratio over the entire client portfolio in the country, Bupa is #1. Their members pay the most for their health insurance. Bupa is one of the oldest and major insurance powerhouses in the world. Yet they are not as big as Allianz considering sales volumes but have a higher retention & renewal rate on their policies. However outstanding direct billing with international hospitals in Shanghai and Beijing make it painless for expatriates to use their health insurance plan for China.

Bupa plans can be portable to pretty much any country except US. High price comes with high benefits, take for example Elite plan which is currently the option that gets you highest benefits on maternity. Dental and vaccination limits are also one of the highest on the market.

  • Global experience with local strengths – With a health plan from Alltrust, Bupa Global and Blue Cross Blue Shield Global, you benefit from the combined strength
  • Access to medical providers worldwide – You’ll have access to over 1.2 million medical providers worldwide
  • Convenient claiming process – At many hospitals and clinics we can settle bills directly
  • 24/7 Support – Our experienced advisers are based in China, speak Mandarin and English and are available 24 hours day, 365 days a year.

Overview of Bupa China health insurance for expats looks as follows. If you are looking for Bupa health insurance in China please get in touch so we can get you most price competitive quotes.

Bupa Health Insurance China

Overview of Bupa Health Insurance Plans

Source: Bupa China Website

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