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News from Pacific Prime China.

New guide compares public and private Shanghai healthcare

New guide compares public and private Shanghai healthcare

If you’re new to the city, or looking to learn more about your Shanghai healthcare options, our new Public and Private Healthcare in Shanghai guide could prove to be a valuable resource in helping you find the best care possible. Best of all, the new free guide answers the top questions asked by expats moving to or living in Shanghai, and provides useful information on public vs private hospitals, what you can expect to pay at different facilities, the health insurance options available, and more.

Download Pacific Prime China’s latest guide from our Health Insurance Guides page today, or read on to learn more about our latest resource and what it covers.

Inside our Public and Private Healthcare in Shanghai guide

As the most populous city in China, Shanghai is home to a high number of public and private healthcare facilities, with many options catering to different budget and language requirements. The quality of care, however, can vary significantly depending on which facility you go to. This, coupled with the language barrier for non-Chinese speakers, can make it difficult for expats looking to find the best Shanghai healthcare. As such, we’ve created our new Public and Private Healthcare guide to demystify the healthcare options available to expats in the city.

Download our guide today to learn about:

  • The history of healthcare in China
  • The differences between public hospitals, VIP clinics, private hospitals, and international hospitals
  • The cost of care and your health insurance options
  • How to handle medical emergencies in Shanghai

Below, we take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions that our new Shanghai healthcare guide can help answer:

What are the main differences between public and private hospitals in Shanghai?

In Shanghai, there are several types of healthcare facilities to choose from:

Public hospitals and VIP clinics

As a first-tier city, Shanghai has a relatively modern healthcare infrastructure. Public hospital care is usually very affordable, but please be aware that the quality of care can vary significantly depending on which hospital you go to. Public facilities can also be very overcrowded, and are sometimes far less clean than what most Westerners are accustomed to. Coupled with long waiting times and a lack of English speaking doctors, it’s easy to see why most foreigners prefer seeking care at VIP clinics, private hospitals, or international hospitals.

Large public hospitals in Shanghai will have what are called VIP clinics, which are associated with public hospitals but often have English-speaking doctors, the ability to book an appointment with a preferred doctor, and more privacy. That said, VIP clinics often only operate during working hours, and charge higher fees than their non-VIP counterpart.

Private and international hospitals

As China started welcoming foreign investment in private hospitals, private care has continued to flourish around the country and in urban centers like Shanghai. Many private facilities have been outfitted with outstanding medical technology. Most expats prefer seeking treatment at private or foreign-run international hospitals to benefit from short waiting times, the ability to book appointments with a preferred doctor, world-class healthcare, and more comfortable hospital accommodation if inpatient care is required. Costs at private and international hospitals, however, easily cost over ten times the price charged for the same treatment at a public hospital. As such, health insurance is highly recommended.

What are my health insurance options?

While national health insurance coverage in China is near-universal, few foreign residents and expats have access to the same coverage benefits as Chinese citizens. Expats are therefore highly advised to secure either a local or international private health insurance policy.

What do I do during a medical emergency?

One of the most important things to prepare for when moving to Shanghai is, of course, what you need to do when faced with a medical emergency. You should be aware that private hospitals are prohibited from privately owning an ambulance fleet. Ambulances in Shanghai are managed by the Shanghai ambulance center with personnel who generally speak little to no English; and sometimes they can be slow to respond to emergency calls. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why many prefer to take a taxi when a medical emergency occurs.

Download our Public and Private Healthcare guide today

To get the answers to all your questions on healthcare in Shanghai, be sure to download our free guide here today. We’ve also released a whole host of other useful guides on health-insurance related topics, which you can access from our Health Insurance Guides page here.

Looking for more in-depth information on Shanghai healthcare, or your health insurance options? Be sure to get in touch with the helpful advisors at Pacific Prime China today, who can offer impartial advice, match you with the best plan based on your needs, and give you a free quote.

Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Health Insurance, News
New Beijing and Shanghai Maternity Insurance Guides released

New Beijing and Shanghai Maternity Insurance Guides released

Planning for a baby can be a rewarding yet daunting experience, and as such it’s important to find enough time to educate yourselves about the options available so that you never feel lost when it comes to pregnancy and giving birth in China. To help, we’ve released two brand new guides, both titled: Maternity Insurance Guide 2017 – 2018.

One focusing on Beijing and the other on Shanghai, our new guides are valuable resources for expectant parents and anyone seeking information on the cost of maternity, as well as what they need to know about maternity insurance in the nation’s most popular expat cities.

Best of all, our guides are completely free to download from our health guides page. Simply click here to download your free copy of the Beijing Maternity Insurance Guide, or here to download the Shanghai Maternity Insurance Guide.

Inside our Beijing and Shanghai Maternity Insurance Guides

Featuring important tips and a summary of all key information our team of maternity insurance experts (and moms!) have gathered over the years, our Beijing and Shanghai Maternity Insurance Guides cover everything you need to know about the best hospitals as well as what you can expect to pay for maternity in the respective cities. On top of that, our new guides also feature important maternity insurance terms and key coverage options you may want to consider as an expat planning for maternity in Beijing or Shanghai.

Top tips to consider

In our goal to simplify health insurance, our easy-to-read Maternity Insurance Guides are designed to help anyone seeking information on maternity in Beijing and/or Shanghai – even those with little or limited knowledge of the Chinese healthcare system. Not only that, but we’ve also included several top tips to consider when planning for pregnancy in China, including:

  • Plan ahead: Virtually all maternity insurance plans come with a waiting period of at least 10 months before coverage will apply. It is therefore strongly advised that you secure maternity insurance well ahead of conception.
  • Take into account all expenses: When planning for maternity, there are many costs to consider, including the cost of giving birth, as well as pre & post-natal expenses. Private facilities are known to charge hefty amounts for care, with C-section delivery in Beijing costing up to RMB 88,000, and up to RMB 110,000 in Shanghai. Obtaining the right maternity insurance is therefore a great way to offset these high costs.
  • Be prepared for all possible outcomes: Unfortunately, not every pregnancy goes according to plan, as it’s also a time of heightened risk for mothers and their babies. To truly protect yourself from the unexpected, it is important to ensure that your insurance covers things such as the cost of neonatal intensive care units (NICU), and premature birth.
  • Understand the available benefits and limits: Like all insurance products, maternity insurance plans can be tailored to meet your needs. Our Beijing and Shanghai guides both include a glossary with the most commonly used terms in the industry.

Partner with a China maternity insurance expert

Our advisors are experts in the field of maternity insurance. To offer greater insight into everything you need to know about maternity insurance in Beijing and Shanghai, we’ve included brief excerpts from two of our advisors who have been through the insurance system first hand in the respective cities.

Here’s an excerpt from Maggie, Senior Advisor and Team Leader at Pacific Prime Beijing:

“It is very important to plan ahead. I recommend to start researching for a plan at least 6 months prior to pregnancy to ensure that you meet the 12 months waiting period of maternity cover. Our experienced advisors will work with you to make sure you understand the different benefits and service levels of each insurer, and will also remind you of the limitations such as baby wellness.”

 

And here’s an excerpt from Crystal, Head of Sales at Pacific Prime Shanghai:

Crystal“If you do plan on giving birth in private hospitals in the city it is important to secure maternity coverage and heed the cost. If you have any questions regarding cover, we are more than happy to help.”

 

 

When choosing the best maternity insurance, you can’t go wrong with getting impartial advice from an expert who has years of experience helping clients with all sorts of maternity insurance-related matters. Our staff are not only there to give you advice and find you the best plan, but will also support you every step of the way in ensuring that your claims and administration processes go as smoothly as possible.

Download our new Maternity Insurance Guides today

To get all the answers to the most commonly asked questions about maternity in Beijing and Shanghai, click on the links below to download your free copy of the Beijing/ Shanghai Maternity Insurance Guide:

If you have any further questions please be sure to contact the helpful advisors at Pacific Prime China today, who are here to answer all your questions, offer impartial advice, and give you a free quote.

Posted by Jess in Expat Health Insurance, Health Insurance, Maternity Insurance, News
Large spike in births following the new two-child policy in China

Large spike in births following the new two-child policy in China

In an effort to reduce China’s ageing rate and combat its shrinking workforce, the Chinese government announced in October 2015 that they would replace their infamous one-child policy with a two-child policy. The new universal two-child policy, implemented in January 1 2016, now allows all couples nationwide to have two children. Health authorities believe this is the main reason why the number of births in 2016 has reached an all-time high this century.

While there has indeed been a noticeable spike in the number of births following the new two-child policy, some argue that this increase can also be attributed to other major factors, such as more parents waiting until 2016 so their children can be born in the auspicious year of the monkey. The increase in pregnancies has also illuminated several maternity-related health challenges, such as more women giving birth in later years. Today, our article takes an in-depth look at what’s causing the large spike in births, and highlights the maternity-related health challenges seen in China.

Background on the two-child policy

Since the one-child policy was first introduced in 1979, a number of adjustments were made to relax this rule. For instance, those who lived in the countryside were long allowed to have a second child as long as they met certain conditions, e.g. if their first child is a girl. Ethnic minorities are often allowed two children or more. In urban areas, couples were permitted to have two children if both parents were themselves only children.

Due to China’s rapidly ageing population and plunging birthrate, a major policy change was implemented in 2013, allowing couples nationwide to have a second child if either parent was an only child. In January 1 2016, the new two-child policy came into effect, allowing all couples to have two children.

Birth numbers since the introduction of China’s two-child policy

A whopping 18.5 million babies were born in mainland hospitals in 2016, representing a near 12% increase from the number of births recorded the year before. In 2017, the latest data available shows that, between January and May, 7.4 million babies were born, an increase of 7.8 percent when compared to the same period in 2016. According to demographer Yuan Xin from Nankai University, the number of births in China is expected to peak to around 20 million in 2017 and 2018.

Proportion of babies born to parents who already had a first child

Interestingly, nearly half of all births in 2016 occurred in families which already had one child. In fact, the proportion of babies born to parents who already had a first child increased from 30% in 2013 to 45% in 2016. What’s more, over half of all reported births between January and May this year involved a second child.

What’s causing the spike in birth numbers?

According to Yang Wenzhuang, a division director at the National Health and Family Planning Commission, the newly implemented two-child policy has proved to be effective in increasing the birth rate in China, even while the number of women of childbearing age is decreasing. Ma Xioawei, a vice-minister of the commission, further commented that many couples from the generation born in the 1970s are rushing to have a second child so that they don’t miss their last chance.

On the other hand, when asked about the 60% spike in demand seen in many hospitals across the country, nurses say that, rather than the policy change, the spike in births was mainly attributed to couples wanting to give birth to their child in the auspicious year of the monkey. In order to ascertain whether the increase in births represents a temporary spike or a steady trend, we will need more time to wait and see, as the new two-child policy has only been implemented last year.

Increasing maternity-related health concerns

The increase in the number of pregnancies has illuminated the rise in maternity-related health challenges seen in China, which is mainly due to a growing number of women giving birth over the age of 35. In fact, it is expected that the number of pregnant women over 35 years old will remain at about 3 million through 2020. Giving birth at a later age can often result in a higher risk of developing complications. For instance, in Guilin 28% of women who gave birth in 2016 were at a higher risk in pregnancy and childbirth, one major factor behind this being age.

The need for maternity insurance

Despite the recent spike in births, fast-rising healthcare costs has meant that many parents out there are still hesitant about having another child or having any children at all. Prenatal and childbirth costs can be astronomical, e.g. a C-section delivery in Beijing can cost over RMB 100,000, and up to RMB 300,000 in Shanghai for a premium C-section package.

With these high costs in mind, having maternity insurance in place when you’re planning to have a baby can really help to offset sky high maternity costs. One thing to note here is that maternity insurance will be attached with a waiting period, usually lasting around 10 to 12 months, which means that securing maternity insurance before conception is key.

To learn more about maternity in China, or your maternity insurance options, why not contact Pacific Prime China today?

Posted by Jess in Maternity Insurance, News
Patented Western drug prices slashed by Chinese Government

Patented Western drug prices slashed by Chinese Government

In a move to make medicine accessible to more people, the Chinese Government has reached agreements with dozens of top drugs from multinationals such as AstraZeneca, GSK, and Roche to slash drug prices. This week, Pacific Prime China discusses just how big of a change this might be, and what it will mean for people living in China. 

The new cost of medication in China

As the second-largest market for medication, China is set to take advantage of significant discounts to some of the pharmaceutical industry’s most expensive and specialized medication. Multinational pharmaceutical companies have cut the price of some of their drugs by as much as 70% in order to make them eligible for co-payment under the Chinese Government’s National Reimbursement Drugs List.

Drug prices have been on the government’s to-do list since as early as 2014, where it indicated it was preparing to increase the level of funding it provided for public healthcare. 45 expensive medicines were already added to the NRDL in February this year, and included significant cost savings such as:

  • GSK’s hepatitis drug Viread fell from RMB 1,500 to 490 a month
  • AstraZeneca’s lung cancer pill Iressa reduced from RMB 15,000 to 7,000 a month
  • Local Chinese company Betta Pharmaceuticals’ lung cancer drug Icotinib dropped from RMB 12,000 to 5,500 a month

With medication like Bayer’s liver and kidney cancer treatment Sorafenib set to join the NRDL, people across China with serious illnesses will be able to access some of the world’s top drugs for less than they would cost in neighbouring countries.

Benefitting from China’s new drug prices

The ones who stand to gain the most from the new medication costs are local Chinese citizens. As they’re eligible for the Chinese Government’s social security support, the lower drug prices mean purchasing these NRDL drugs using their individual social security fund won’t cost them as much as it might have when pharmaceutical companies charged full price. This is great news for citizens of lower incomes who can now get the government co-pay for drugs previously well out of their price range.

Foreigners and expatriates, who are excluded from accessing national social security, still benefit from the reduction of drug prices by the government and pharmaceutical companies. Obviously, there’s no co-payment to help pay for the reduced costs but, as seen above, the price drops are still considerable, and make medication market in China extremely competitive with costs seen elsewhere. Granted, a year long course of Iressa will still cost RMB 84,000, so it’s still worth securing private health insurance to provide financial support should you need it.

Do health insurance plans cover the cost of medication?

The answer is both yes and no. Illnesses such as cancer will generally have a separate benefit schedule to things like inpatient or outpatient care, meaning any cancer-related drugs prescribed to you will likely be covered under that part of your policy. The same goes for any medications required due to an inpatient visit, for example if you break your leg or are admitted with gastroenteritis.

What you need to be aware of is that policies differ on how much and how long they’ll cover drugs for. This is where it pays to have read and understood your insurance policy in full. Some plans may have an approved drug list called a “formulary”, meaning they only pay for certain types or brands of drugs, whilst others may have a limit on how much they’ll pay for medication. Each plan is different, so make sure you know what yours covers.

What if my health coverage isn’t adequate enough?

Maybe you have an existing private health insurance plan, maybe your employer has provided you with one as part of your employment package. Perhaps you don’t even have health insurance at all. One of the worst situations you can find yourself in when faced with dealing with a medical illness is not being financially prepared for the cost of treatment, and not having adequate health insurance coverage.

At Pacific Prime China, we’re experts at matching robust insurance coverage with your personal health needs. We can negotiate better benefits and limits at great prices for new and existing clients, provide comprehensive top-up plans for those looking to boost their employer-provided insurance, and we can even find coverage for your family, small business, or large professional service firm. Our point of difference as a broker? We’ll stay and support you throughout the life of your policy too, helping out with claims and at renewal time.

Find out why we’re one of Asia’s leading insurance brokers. For a free quote or some friendly, expert advice, contact the team at Pacific Prime China today.

Posted by Luther in News
Are you ready to make a difference? Pacific Prime China is seeking new Consultants

Are you ready to make a difference? Pacific Prime China is seeking new Consultants

If you’ve been looking out for the next big step in your career or a fresh and exciting new opportunity, Pacific Prime China’s new roles might be just the fit for you.

We’re a fast-expanding employee benefits and insurance brokerage firm in China, and part of a global group of companies under the Pacific Prime banner. As a leading insurance expert in Asia, we’ve built a strong reputation of simplifying insurance with clients and industry partners. Our teams of more than 400 across five offices represent 26 different nationalities and speak more than 21 languages.

We’re on the lookout for a number of exceptional Consultants to join our ranks and deliver robust insurance solutions for the various nationalities that call China home.

Who are we looking for?

A great insurance Consultant at Pacific Prime puts the client at the centre of their entire decision making. We’re looking for people that:

  • Are able to represent the client’s interest and provide them with balanced and appropriate advice, delivering solutions with the Pacific Prime customer service ethic and integrity
  • Demonstrate a strong knowledge and ability promote and highlight key points of insurance to prospective clients
  • Will proactively contact and secure new business accounts and clients
  • Care for the after Sales service during the client’s policy year

A thoughtful person with a great eye for detail, and excellent communication and interpersonal skills is a great start. We want you to be a person that our clients feel comfortable with and would be confident recommending you to their friends and peers.

More specifically, we’re hiring for our Beijing and Shanghai offices who are seeking multiple candidates who are:

  • (Both offices) Local Chinese citizens with native-level Chinese language skills; or
  • (Both offices) Expats with fluent-level Portuguese or Spanish language skills; or
  • (Beijing) Expats with fluent-level Russian language skills; or
  • (Both offices) Expats with other fluent-level non-English language skills.

It’s important that candidates can speak, read, and write in these languages and, as a global company, fluent-level English communication skills are a must for all candidates.

chinese female insurance consultant smiling in professional pose

What will a Consultant do?

The essential job functions of a Pacific Prime Consultant include:

  • Engaging and representing clients who have enquired about insurance products through our marketing channels, ascertaining their needs and requirements early in the relationship.
  • Producing clear and effective correspondence and records for the client and company, either through paper form, email or via our dedicated CRM system.
  • Addressing and resolving any client concerns, issues, or complaints with a satisfactory outcome for the client and Pacific Prime.
  • Coordinating with internal teams (administration, claims, client services, renewals) to ensure all forms, records, and information required is handled swiftly and appropriately
  • Supporting the Pacific Prime management teams by identifying advantages and industry developments, as well as providing client insights if needed.

You’ll need to demonstrate you can be autonomous and enthusiastic, whilst still being able to work collaboratively and supportively in a team setting. If you’re driven by results, strong in negotiation and are comfortable working with a range of office suite applications, then you could be the Consultant we’re looking for.

Why choose Pacific Prime China?

Our staff are important to us and new Consultants will be able to take advantage of our exceptional sales and insurance training program to make sure they start off on the right foot. Our employment package includes:

  • A competitive base salary
  • Generous rates of commission
  • Health insurance
  • Career progression and pathways to senior roles
  • Transfer opportunities to our other Pacific Prime offices
  • Visa sponsorship for non-Chinese citizens

You’ll be working alongside some of Asia’s top and most diverse insurance consultants; from experienced seniors who have 20-30 years experience, to fresh, innovative new talent who keep us ahead of the game. We’re a company that values community too; both of our Beijing and Shanghai offices provide staff with company dinners, social outings, and the opportunity to get involved in charitable events during the year.

Apply for a Consultant role with Pacific Prime China now

If you’re ready to let us know why you’re the next Consultant we’ll be adding to the Pacific Prime family, then send us your CV to [email protected]. Cover letters are optional and we’ll be looking to take references from you during interviews. Preference will be given to candidates that already live in Beijing and Shanghai; however we’re open to considering people that are looking to relocate.

Being a Consultant is an exciting and busy role and one we’re sure you’ll excel in! Contact us now so we can expand the Pacific Prime China brand together!

Posted by Luther in News