In this article, we will solely be covering international insurance providers and in particular, those that have an entity, license, and 24/7 presence in China to serve expats and foreigners locally. We will on purpose avoid local companies such as Pingan, PICC, and Taiping, as based on our experience more than 73.2% of expats in China, prefer to be insured with an international rather than local insurance provider.
Since 2005 there has been an increasing number of global insurance companies entering China market and selling locally to both locals and foreigners. Such giants like Allianz and Bupa have been here for years but there is an increase in medium size companies too such as Now Health from Hong Kong or GBG from US, all of which have managed to obtain an insurance license and sell plans locally. This means once you sign uo with any health insurance for expats in China that they offer, you will be entitled to the following services:
- Get services locally for either direct billing – cashless services, as well as a 24/7 running toll-free hotline that supports both English and Chinese. This is in particular essential in case of nighttime emergencies as you need someone on the other side of the phone to sort of things for you when you have been delivered to a local medical institution;
- Paying locally allows you to get fapiao (Chinese tax invoice) which you can claim later as an expense or against your income to lower it, and thus hopefully get down in tax bracket;
What are best health insurance plans in China?
Above overview will let you analyze each of the major international insurance providers in China based on several factors. First of all how good price value it is. We all know that Bupa is considered to be a “gold standard” across global insurance market, their plans are somewhat one of the most expensive you can purchase which makes it bad value for money option. Particularly, because you can source a more cost effective solution from other providers that will charge you less but offer very similar benefits for your insurance protection. Another aspect of comparison is what sort of medical coverage or benefits will you get? How rich are the plans, do you need unlimited cover for outpatient or some sort of cap per year per member is acceptable for you?
Thirdly it will be a brand name, how well is this insurance company rated worldwide, how well do people know it? This leads us to a last comparison specter which is servicing. Truly global insurance providers such as Allianz or Bupa have proven over years of their existence that servicing for them is done constantly on a higher level. There are however smaller tier companies that also have outstanding services and even somewhat more personal approach to its members.
Based on our experience, 89% of expats in the country had experience with one of the below listed companies, all of which are international brands except Pingan and Taiping.