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 all 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.
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.
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.
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.