Health Insurance

All the latest articles on health insurance in China.

Company Benefits: Why using an insurance broker is the superior choice

Company Benefits: Why using an insurance broker is the superior choice

It’s that time again. The time for businesses to start planning ahead and ensuring that their company benefits in 2018 are addressed and ready to go. This is because many insurance companies raise their rates at the beginning of a new year. Due to this, companies the world over need to revisit their company benefits – including group health insurance policies, wellness plans, and more – to see if they are getting the right value from their current plan, or if rising costs might lead to searching for a new benefits provider.

This can be quite a demanding task on Human Resources staff, decision makers, and other plan administrators, so where can they turn for help? Well, those that currently do not work with an insurance brokerage may find that partnering with one can really take a load off of the shoulders of in-house staff when it comes to purchasing or renewing company benefits. How can an insurance broker help? Pacific Prime China discusses the topic here.

Company benefits challenges for your staff

At Pacific Prime, we recognize the juggling act that Human Resources staff must perform on a daily basis. After all, we work with thousands of different businesses and organizations, and work with their HR and support staff every day. Not only do they have to deal with local, as well as international, compliance issues and regulations, they are often also responsible for payroll, staff insurance and benefit issues, and employee morale more generally. To be sure, it can be a job with broad demands. Fortunately, while upper level management may or may not be sympathetic to the plight of the HR team member, there is a surefire way to relieve some of the burden HR employees can feel due to their workload: Work with a established and trusted insurance broker like Pacific Prime China!

Being a Jack or Jill of many-if-not-all trades in the HR world comes with the territory, and truly specializing in any one aspect of Human Resources work can be virtually impossible. With this in mind, let’s examine some of the ways that an experienced insurance broker can help.

Saving the legwork of finding the best company benefits plan

Perhaps the #1 benefit of working with a broker is that the broker will work with a number of different providers in your area. This enables them to present you with an overview of available plans from different providers, the details of which each one covers, and the prices for each plan. Not only will this allow your company compare available options and see the real differences between plans, it also saves HR staff from doing a ton of legwork to obtain quotes from numerous insurance companies one at a time.

Answers and insights

Working with an insurance broker, at least in the case of Pacific Prime China, is so much more than just having someone find an insurance plan for you. Our staff will continue to make themselves available to your company for as long as your company is a member. In fact, a dedicated team will be appointed to your business, and your company will always be able to reach out to them with whatever questions about your company benefits you may have.

Not only this, but with an insurance broker you will know that you are getting unbiased answers, rather than answers from the insurer, who ultimately has their own bottom line at heart. Insurance brokers depend on great relationships with their customers to thrive, so your company is our priority.

Less work for your back office

We alluded to it before, but working with an insurance broker can actually remove some time consuming tasks from your HR team’s proverbial plate. This includes items such as plan administration, claims processing, reporting to your company’s leadership team, data analysis and more. A good insurance broker can even handle liaising, negotiating, and more generally communicating with your insurance provider where you don’t have to. What’s more, even when you switch providers, your insurance broker can remain a constant service provider for you as you transition.

Data reporting and analysis

Analyzing your claims and determining your plans value via a fair loss ratio can make all the difference in the world when it comes to fighting back against raising premiums each year. If you want to properly be able to negotiate with your insurance company, you need to arm yourself with knowledge. Another great aspect of using an insurance broker is that we can handle most, if not all, of this work on your behalf, and even step in to the negotiation process if it seems the insurance company is trying to raise premiums beyond what should be considered reasonable.


Keep in mind that not all insurance brokers are created equal. While some have the manpower to provide you with service year round, you will no doubt find that there are also brokers that only really have the resources to focus on their clients around purchase and/or renewal time. With Pacific Prime China, you get the benefit of working with a large and well established broker with hundreds of employees and numerous global offices. We will always be available to your company when you need us.

Let Pacific Prime save your HR team time and effort

Now that you know a bit more about why using an insurance broker may be the right choice for your company benefits, make sure you don’t forget (or even share the info with your friends) by keeping the Pacific Prime corporate flyer for Shanghai and Beijing. This quick and handy guide reviews some of the key details covered in this article and more, making it easy to share the benefits of utilizing an insurance broker to your peers and colleagues.

The very bottom line is that working with an insurance broker will not (or at least should not) cost your company anything extra beyond what you would normally pay for health insurance. When you consider this and look at all the added value that a experienced, professional insurance broker can provide, it’s easy to see why so many companies opt for the extra layer of service afforded by a broker.

If you would like to free up some of your HR staff’s valuable time and resources, contact us today! We’ll gladly examine your current plan, provide options of the best plans available to your company, and provide you with a free quote.

Posted by Travis Jones in Group Health Insurance
Company health insurance gaps: what doesn’t my employee benefits plan cover for my staff?

Company health insurance gaps: what doesn’t my employee benefits plan cover for my staff?

Offering your employees health insurance is a common standard. Employer’s know that attracting the best talent requires competitive compensation and benefits packages that set them apart from their peers. Employee benefits and corporate health insurance plans are easy enough to find, but ensuring they’re viewed as valuable by current and potential staff can be a challenge. Often, there will be hidden company health insurance gaps that can surprise employees when they need the support the most.

Recently, an article in Hong Kong found that 60% of people expected GP visits to be included in their employer-provided health insurance plan, but only 18% of people actually received such coverage. This week, Pacific Prime China discusses what you should look for in an effective employee benefits package, and what advice and options you can offer to staff where the coverage leaves them open.

Common company health insurance gaps

Fully comprehensive coverage is expensive, which is why most employers won’t provide staff with plans that will cover every health eventuality. Company health insurance gaps are not active decisions made to lessen the effectiveness of a plan to its member, but simply a way for a company to offer a benefit within its budget while the insurer mitigates risk. In our almost two decades of providing corporate employee benefits solutions, we’ve found some common gaps can include:

  • No dental coverage
  • No maternity benefits
  • Lack of portability (ability for an employee to maintain coverage after leaving employment)
  • Low levels of in-patient benefits
  • Low or no out-patient coverage
  • Acute treatment focused, little to no focus on preventative medicine
  • Restrictions on patient choice regarding providers and specialists
  • Coverage limited to China, or even a specific city (e.g. Shanghai)

It can also be common for employees to find restrictive coverage for some serious illnesses, particularly ones that can require ongoing care. Dialysis or chemotherapy, for example, can be costly for insurers to cover, so either including such benefits can mean a higher premium for a business to pay. If that price is too high, then your staff can find themselves left without support for such treatments should they develop a serious chronic condition.

That said, companies do need to draw the line somewhere. You obviously want to support your staff the best you can, but it’s often just not financially feasible or responsible to buy the best plan in the market. Understanding everyone’s options in a situation like this can be the best, first step you can take to ensuring everyone gets the employee health insurance outcomes they desire.

What are my options as an employer?

If you find that there are company health insurance gaps that are likely to affect your staff, then you have a few options available to you:

Extend your coverage Change your provider Self-insurance Do nothing
At likely a higher cost to your business, you can negotiate with your employee benefits provider to extend coverage to meet your staff needs. It will likely make your staff happy, but will it be sustainable for you? While your current corporate health insurance provider might not cover what your staff need at a reasonable price, another might. But you’ll incur the costs and inconveniences associated with changing providers. If leaving a staff member to deal with their issue themselves is not an option, and extending coverage is too expensive, it might be better for your business to cover the costs of care directly. Sometimes it’s just not feasible to take on the responsibility for the total health and wellbeing of your staff.

The right answer will depend very much on your business, your staff, and what your goals are when providing employee benefits and health insurance.

What can my staff do to help themselves?

Where corporate health insurance gaps are impacting the needs and requirements of staff, there are also options available to them to support themselves. The first can be to buy a whole new plan outright. Yes, it will be a direct cost to them, and the premium will generally be a lot higher than what your company would pay per person for a group employee benefits package. However, some people may find that their specific needs just won’t fit with a group insurance plan.

A middle option, however, is to educate your employees on top-up insurance. Top-up products, or supplementary health insurance plans, work to fill in the gaps that can be left by employer-provided coverage. They can work to provide coverage where it doesn’t currently exist, to add additional benefits beyond what the group plan provides, and even to offer more options up to an individual who needs to seek medical attention. This can include adding dental, maternity, and vision coverage options should they need it.

two businessmen discuss company health insurance gaps in a bright room over a tablet

If your staff are a diverse group of people at different points in their lives, then it’s highly likely that their employee benefits needs will differ from person-to-person. Top-up insurance can be a great way for staff to tailor relevant extensions to the coverage you provide so that they’re only truly paying for the benefits they need – and nothing they don’t. To help your staff understand what their top-up options might be, feel free to send them these free download links, or send them the PDF files yourself:

We designed these to help people make a better and more informed decision when it comes to closing corporate health insurance gaps in China. Best of all, our resources are completely free!

I’d like to talk to someone about my employee benefits plan

Understanding what gaps exist in your corporate health insurance plan can be tricky. Often, businesses won’t know where their plans are less supportive until a staff member runs into a problem making a claim. The best way to make sure you’ve got the right plan for your staff needs is to engage the services of an experienced and expert employee benefits broker.

Pacific Prime China is an expert in both group and individual health insurance, specializing in providing high-quality employee benefits solutions to professional service firms, and other corporate clients. Not only can we help you find the right coverage to meet your business and staff needs, but we can also help your staff extend the coverage you offer through their own top-up insurance plans. Best of all, we offer full plan support to both your business and the individual; meaning you’ll all have only one place to go for all your insurance needs.

Have us around for a meeting, and we’ll explain why we’re the broker of choice for many businesses in Asia, the Middle East, and around the world. We’re leaders in what we do, and all we do is centred around our clients. To discuss what your current plan does and doesn’t support, what your competitors might be offering, and what your options are to stay competitive, contact the team at Pacific Prime China today!

Posted by Luther in Group Health Insurance
IVF myths: What’s the real story behind In Vitro Fertilization?

IVF myths: What’s the real story behind In Vitro Fertilization?

When it comes to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), there are plenty of myths and misinformation out there. Some say that these medical interventions increase your chances of multiple births, while others say your baby will be at an increased risk of birth defects. If you’ve been struggling to conceive in China, it can be reassuring to know that world-class In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) services are available. But how much do you really know about it?

In this week’s article, Pacific Prime China looks at some of the IVF myths that have persisted despite the many advances the medical profession has made to make these treatments a miracle for numerous aspiring parents.

A short history of IVF

IVF is a process that many families turn to when natural conception is a challenge. This can happen for a number of reasons. Some women struggle to conceive due to medical conditions like endometriosis, while others have reached an age that makes it harder to become pregnant. Men, also, can be the cause of infertility. Some may have a decreased sperm count or low sperm mobility. Both parents may also have genetic disorders impacting their conception success rates, and sometimes there are just some inexplicable reasons for not being able to conceive.

In the early days of IVF, there was very little information available to the public about the how and why such treatments worked. People referred to the children of IVF treatments as “test tube babies”, early families were very secretive about their decision to pursue these revolutionary conception methods, and many more considered the process “unnatural”. The stigma around IVF persisted for decades. People felt it was the peak of a slippery slope into “designer babies” and potential human cloning, however ART drove onwards to better refine and streamline the IVF process.

Thankfully, these days people are more comfortable with IVF treatments following recent decades of it creating many successful, happy families. What was previously a demanding and lengthy process for women and medical professionals, modern IVF is a much faster and comfortable experience. There are no longer three-hourly urine collections, and no need for women to crouch agonizingly for hours after egg collection. Men have also benefited from advances that have seen it possible for fertilization to occur via direct sperm injection into an egg.

Common misconceptions and IVF myths

There are still many IVF myths that continue to cast a doubtful shadow over the process. IVF has assisted in the birth of more than 6.5 million babies since Louise Brown, the first IVF baby born in 1978, and its frequency has made it little more than an everyday treatment for medical clinics and professionals. Yet, these common misconceptions continue to concern and worry many parents who may be looking at IVF support.

1. IVF almost always leads to multiple pregnancies

One of the longest-standing IVF myths is that those undertaking treatment should expect twins, triplets, or more. As we all know, the cost of raising a single baby is a lot; so having twins or even quintuplets can multiply that cost by the number of babies conceived. This myth can leave many concerned that seeking IVF treatment will leave them in a position they can’t financially support, however the truth is that it’s not necessarily IVF that causes multiple births.

According to an article by NPR, the rate of triplets and higher-order births for both IVF and naturally conceived pregnancies has been equalizing over the past decade. The rate of those types of pregnancies occurring from non-IVF treatments, however, has increased a lot. The reason for this is that fertility drugs are the culprit; drugs that increase a woman’s egg count to improve fertility chances are driving the rise in multiple pregnancies. While it is still true that multiple births do occur more frequently in IVF pregnancies, just over 20% of all triplet births in 2011 were a result of natural conception, while IVF accounted for just over 30%.

asian woman holds her pregnant belly in front of a green wall, representing a woman who overcame IVF myths and successfully became pregnant using ART

2. IVF babies are at a higher risk of birth defects and malformations

Understanding the link between IVF pregnancies and birth defects is still largely under review. While some previous studies have suggested that a woman’s likelihood of delivering a malformed child is higher through IVF, more recent investigations suggest that it might be the factors leading a woman to use IVF that maintains her high risk of having a baby with a birth defect. A New England Journal of Medicine study found that 8.3% of children born using ART had suffered some form of birth defect, while it was only 5.8% for naturally conceived children.

However, when accounting and controlling for other factors that could increase birth defect risks, the study showed that children born using IVF treatment were not associated with greater odds. Researchers instead found that intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) increased the risk of a birth defect by 57%, however it was not yet understood if this was due to the technique itself, or due to the male infertility issues it aims to assist with. It should be noted too that techniques, like ICSI, are also constantly being improved to ensure better safety and effectiveness.

3. IVF is not safe

When it comes to IVF treatment, there is a very small risk of developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHS). This is where the ovaries become swollen and painful, and accompanied with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, a lack of appetite, or feelings of bloatedness. In severe cases, nausea or abdominal pain can be significant, and you may encounter urinary issues, become short of breath, and notice a sudden amount of weight gained. OHS develops in as little as 2% of IVF patients and, in most cases, only mild symptoms are experienced. There is a very small risk of severe conditions developing, leading to serious illness or death.

There are also the general risks involved with receiving anesthesia, which can be used during egg retrieval and laparoscopy. However, the claim that the procedure is not safe can be one of the most common over-exaggerated IVF myths that has persisted over time.

4. IVF fails more often than it succeeds

For some ART procedures, the average success rate can be as little as 10-15% per cycle. While IVF is not a guaranteed success, the average pregnancy rate after an embryo transfer is about 30% per cycle, with a cumulative success rate of 60% by 3-6 cycles. That’s not to say that IVF will work every time. Some people will find conceiving a struggle even with IVF support due to factors such as age, cause of infertility, as well as biological and hormonal conditions.

5. Health insurance won’t cover IVF

One of the most confusing IVF myths is the idea that insurance companies do not cover IVF. It is true that IVF is expensive, and many insurers may view IVF coverage as a costly benefit. When it comes to insurers that do offer In Vitro Fertilization coverage, it’s important to note that not all plans will cover every IVF treatment stage. Some may only offer benefits for examination and fertility testing, while others may offer full coverage of treatment and medication. For China in particular, hopeful parents should consider their insurance options carefully as part of their maternity planning to ensure they get the coverage they need.

Learning more about IVF treatments and insurance in China

Choosing to pursue IVF treatment in China is a big decision. Given the costs and IVF myths, you’ll want to be as well prepared as possible. To help, Pacific Prime China has a handy guide on what to expect. Our In Vitro Fertilization 2017-2018 Guide has a wealth of knowledge that parents will likely find useful, and answers some of the most commonly asked questions about IVF:

  • Is In Vitro Fertilization a common treatment in China?
  • Are there any differences in IVF services between Shanghai and Beijing?
  • How much does IVF treatment cost in China?
  • Will my health insurance plan provide coverage?

Our expert consultants have been providing both locals and expats in China with robust and comprehensive insurance solutions for almost two decades. We’re experienced in all things related to health insurance, including maternity and IVF coverage. Our IVF guide was produced in order to maintain our stellar reputation for simplifying insurance, and it’s available free for you here.

For a free insurance quote or to discuss what your coverage options might be before getting pregnant, contact the team at Pacific Prime China today!

Posted by Luther in Maternity Insurance
Here’s why your business should offer employee health benefits

Here’s why your business should offer employee health benefits

Gone are the days when an employee happily collected their pay and expected little more. In today’s candidate-driven market, employee health benefits are often hailed the crown jewels of a compensation package.

Yes, staying compliant is imperative for every business, but going above and beyond the rest is what makes your company stand out from other competitors. While there are many ways of achieving this, going the extra mile by offering healthcare benefits can be a great way to start.

Here, corporate health insurance specialist Pacific Prime China looks at the top reasons why businesses should offer employee health benefits.

Attract quality talent

55 percent of Chinese employers are set to increase their headcount this year, according to a 2017 China Salary & Employment Outlook survey. As a result, more and more employers are investing their efforts into attracting quality talent across all departments and levels of seniority. While these strategies translate to more optimistic employment opportunities, they also place a further strain on the nation’s candidate-driven market, where top job candidates often receive multiple attractive offers.

In responding to this growing pressure to differentiate against other employers, a growing number of companies are recognizing the need to move beyond monetary benefits alone. In fact, SHRM revealed that two-thirds of HR professionals believe the importance of healthcare related benefits (e.g. corporate health insurance) in recruiting talent will increase over the next three to five years. A 2015 New Benefits Buyers Study further found that almost 80 percent of job candidates consider a company’s employee benefits package when deciding whether or not to accept their job offer.

Retain talent

In addition to attracting talent, the importance of retaining top talent is also taking center stage. Why? One of the largest challenges faced by employers in China today is high employee turnover. When looking at the country’s turnover data over the past few years, the situation appears to be worsening.

In 2012, the employee turnover rate was 18.9 percent. In 2016, the turnover rate shot up to an average of 20.8 percent. Some industries even saw a turnover rate of up to 40 percent. Throw in the fact that over half of millennials, now the world’s largest working generation, are happy to leave their job in favor of better opportunities, and it’s clear to see why offering a competitive employee health benefits package is becoming increasingly important.

Starbucks in China, for example, with a workforce made up primarily of university graduates, sees employee retention as a strategic imperative. The company found in a survey that the majority of their employees consider taking care of their parents as the most powerful benefit they could receive. In responding to workforce needs, the coffee chain is now providing health insurance for the parents of its employees in China.

Enhancing employee-employer relations

Maintaining good employee-employer relations will help reduce workplace conflict, as well as lead to improved staff morale and job satisfaction.

In a Global Employee Benefit Trends China Study, employees were asked to score from seven (strongly agree) to one (strongly disagree) several areas connected with the benefits provision (e.g. “values placed on health & wellness”). They were then asked to agree/disagree with statements that indicate higher levels of employee engagement and commitment to their employer’s goals (e.g. “I am satisfied with the job I have now”, “I feel loyal to my employer”).

And the results? For each one point increase in sentiment around benefits, the study found that there is a 12 percent or more increase in the likelihood of the employee agreeing with positive statements about their employer.

Combat productivity losses

Offering employee health benefits that effectively address both physical and emotional health can go a long way in boosting the overall health of employees. A healthier workforce is less likely to go on sick leave, recover from illness quicker, and are less at risk of developing long term illnesses that require frequent and expensive care.

Healthier employees also translate to a more productive workforce, not just because of reduced absenteeism, but also lowered presenteeism (the loss of productivity from not working at full capacity – e.g. showing up to work despite being ill). Just how significant are the costs of absenteeism and presenteeism? According to new insights by Global Corporate Challenge, absent employees cost companies roughly USD 150 billion every year, and those who came to work but were not fully productive cost USD 1,500 billion each year.

Final advice: Talk to an employee health benefits specialist

Now that you’ve understood the key reasons why you should offer employee health benefits, you might be thinking: “How do I go about implementing an employee benefits program?” As every workforce comes in all different shapes and sizes, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits all benefits package. This, coupled with the lack of transparency in what other competitors are offering, can make it very hard to devise and implement the best-fitting plan for your staff.

This is where talking to an employee health benefits specialist like Pacific Prime China can really make the difference. With years of experience serving clients of all sizes, we’ve helped over 3,000 companies in virtually every industry secure the best employee benefits solutions for their needs. What’s more, the additional support we give to clients (e.g. dedicated account managers and in-house claims team) can really help in taking care of all the administrative hassles of managing your employees’ health benefits.

To learn more about the Pacific Prime China difference, be sure to check out our newly released Beijing and/or Shanghai Corporate Flyer, or contact our friendly team of corporate advisors today.

Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Group Health Insurance, Health Insurance
Public Shanghai hospitals, VIP clinics, and international hospitals: 6 key differences

Public Shanghai hospitals, VIP clinics, and international hospitals: 6 key differences

“Where should I go for care?” is usually one of the top questions asked by newcomers to Shanghai. Ever since mid-2014, when the Chinese government permitted wholly foreign owned hospitals in seven cities and provinces, the quality and choice of care for locals and expats have improved considerably. Primary healthcare choices available to expats and residents today include public Shanghai hospitals, the VIP clinics present at larger public hospitals, and international hospitals/clinics. Here, we’ve highlighted the main differences between the three types of facilities.

1. Booking an appointment

Few public Shanghai hospitals offer the ability to book appointments, and in most cases people who use such facilities will need go to the hospital and buy a registration ticket there (this will cost around RMB 14). Recent improvements, however, have made it easier to book an appointment through new healthcare apps. That being said, most of these apps require a Chinese ID number, so most expats will not be able to use them.

A select number of public hospitals also have so-called VIP clinics, sometimes in conjunction with foreign companies, where services provided are more personalized, and amenities are more pleasant. These clinics generally allow the ability to book appointments. If you speak little to no Mandarin, however, you may find it difficult to successfully book an appointment over the phone in English. If that is the case, you might just have to show up and request for an appointment in person.

International hospitals generally have a dedicated hotline for booking appointments with your preferred doctor. Administrative staff are generally able to communicate in English, and may be able to speak a range of other languages, too. This means it’s generally quite easy to book an appointment in your preferred language. Many international clinics and hospitals (e.g. ParkwayHealth) also feature online booking forms on their website, which can make things a lot easier and less time consuming when requesting an appointment.

2. Wait times

As mentioned in our recent article on beating public hospital queues, long wait times and delays in seeking treatment are commonplace in public Shanghai hospitals. The relatively affordable public system not only attracts the majority of Shanghai’s 23 million person population, but also those who live in neighboring areas. This translates to very long wait times that are in most cases well over an hour. Many will even need to miss one day’s work (sometimes even more) to complete their consultation/tests.

To avoid long wait times, VIP clinics and international hospitals would be favorable, as doctors in these facilities will generally be able to see you quickly. As these facilities take care of fewer patients, doctors will likely dedicate more time in treating and learning more about each of their patients. This extra care can be very valuable for patients, as they are more likely to leave the hospital feeling confident that they have received the best care.

3. Cost

One of the largest differences between public Shanghai hospitals, VIP clinics, and international hospitals is cost. Public hospitals in China are much less expensive than the latter facilities. In public hospitals, you can expect to pay less than RMB 20 for a general check-up, and only RMB 150 to see a specialist.

On the other hand, the cost of tests and treatments at VIP clinics can easily be several times the fees charged at standard public hospitals. For example, general consultations start at about RMB 600 at VIP clinics. As can be expected, international hospitals are usually the most expensive. In these facilities, you will likely pay around RMB 1,200 to RMB 1,500 for a general consultation.

As can be seen above, fees charged at VIP clinics and international hospitals are significantly more expensive than standard public hospital fees. This is why many locals and expats alike secure private health insurance to save hundreds and thousands on their medical expenses.

4. Language barrier

If you speak only very basic or no Mandarin at all, and would like to seek care at a public Shanghai hospital, be sure to bring a Chinese-speaking friend along with you when you go to the hospital. This is because most administrative staff, nurses, and other medical staff at public facilities speak little-to-no English. Most local Shanghai doctors can read, write, and speak some English, but not many are fluent.

Doctors and other staff at VIP clinics generally have a better grasp of the English language than their standard public counterparts, but not all staff will be able to speak English fluently or to a reasonable standard. Doctors working in international hospitals, however, are generally foreigners or Chinese who have been trained overseas. Their English skills are, therefore, generally excellent. A number of these doctors are also able to speak several other foreign languages (e.g. French, Japanese).

5. Equipment

Many in China hold the general perception that the equipment used at public Shanghai hospitals are of a higher quality than the equipment in smaller town/city hospitals. Generally speaking, this is true, particularly at larger facilities where you can expect to find reasonably high quality, imported or local equipment. Due to the higher budgets available to VIP clinics, and especially international hospitals, they generally spend more on newer, state-of-the-art medical technology. This can be crucial, especially for more complex procedures.

6. Comfort level

Public facilities are generally less clean than what many people from overseas are used to, and comfort levels can be quite basic – e.g. crowded wards, and only very basic amenities. If you’re staying overnight at a hospital, please be aware that you’ll likely need to bring your own toiletries with you, and food options are often quite limited. Those who want more privacy can choose to stay at VIP semi-private or private wards, which are generally a lot more comfortable and quite similar to those at international hospitals. Their consultation rooms are usually larger, too.

If you’re after some pampering, some international hospitals go one step beyond to offer high-end perks like butler service, personalized meals, and even private clubhouses on hospital grounds. The extra extravagant perks offered at select international hospitals do come with a hefty price tag, but can make all the difference for patients and their families, as well as make recovery a little more bearable.

So, what’s the best Shanghai hospital option for me?

At the end of the day, which facility you go to is entirely up to you. There are many considerations you might want to make, such as what you can afford, as well as your language, and comfort preferences. However, if you are looking to access superior quality and personalized service in the fastest time possible, Pacific Prime China recommends obtaining private health insurance to give you the option of accessing the VIP or international hospital care you desire.

Want to learn more about healthcare in Shanghai?

If you have any more questions, or would like to learn more about healthcare in China’s most populous expat city, download our newly released hospital guide today. Titled: Public and Private Healthcare in Shanghai, the free resource provides handy information not only on the differences between public, VIP, and international hospital care, but also the history of healthcare in China, cost and insurance coverage options, as well as how emergencies are handled.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with our team of experts today. With years of experience in Shanghai, our advisors know the ins and outs of the city’s hospital system, as well as how to find the best plan to access the best care. They’re also on hand to give you impartial advice, as well as a free quote!


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Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Health Insurance