Medical Care in China: Which Service Is The Best For You & Your Family

Medical Care or healthcare is widely available in China. A large number of hospitals are found in all of the cities, and most villages. The quality of medical care and facilities available can be very basic in the less densely populated areas of China. 

Major cities will typically have good healthcare facilities but it is always worth the time and effort to undertake your own research or speak to an advisor about the exact facilities available to you.

This research is best undertaken before an emergency occurs, so if the worst does happen, you will have your preferred facilities at your disposal.

If you have private health insurance however, most insurers will provide you with a list of the facilities available to you and have advisors who can make sure you use the most appropriate facilities to match you and your family’s needs.

Medical facilities in international hospitals are of a much higher standard with many pharmacological needs provided over the counter and prescribed medication enjoying the same availability as back in your home country.

Overall China has low achievements in terms of life expectancy and infant mortality, ranking 108th and 103rd respectively. If you are an expatriate working and living in China it is essential that you acquire comprehensive medical insurance to ensure you and your loved ones have an appropriate standard of healthcare.

Keeping Healthy While Overseas

When travelling to China, no vaccinations are required other than those for hepatitis. If you are going to make sure you have private insurance for your trip, it is still advisable to make necessary vaccination arrangements before you leave and consult with your doctor pre-departure so that you arrive already safely vaccinated. Consultation with a medical professional is advised as some of the common vaccinations considered but not required include:

Hepatitis A and B

Public health issues in China are varied. The more publicized and severe examples have included that of swine flu which amounted to a total of 18 cases in China and cases of the variant avian flu.
It is highly unlikely that you would come into contact with such diseases, but caution should be exercised when entering areas with a high quantity of live poultry. Progress has been made in addressing other public health issues, including the eradication of malaria with the exception of isolated cases still found in the rural south-west.

The most common exposure to a potential public health issue will be your daily exposure to food and water. It is advised that expatriates only drink bottled water, as water treatment is still substandard compared with many developed countries.

Healthcare Professionals and Facilities

china-health-care-costs-feesIn Beijing and Shanghai you will have a number of private clinics that are both owned and managed by western professionals or Chinese staff that have trained overseas. They have the ability to treat patients to a standard they are more accustomed to back home but expatriates should note that the fees for such a service are usually high.

Our dedicated insurance consultants will help you determine which particular facilities will be suitable for you and your family’s needs. Paying for a private service is highly advised even in emergency medical situations. Ambulance and emergency services in China are subject to a lack of availability and the training and level of equipment on board is substandard. In an emergency insurers do plan for this eventuality, either providing their own evacuation and ambulance services or they will be working directly with private hospitals to ensure some kind of transportation should an emergency arise.

Ultimately, the foreign-run high cost facilities (HCF) are the most desired but reflect this desirability in the price they charge for care. This cost is greatly mitigated by having appropriate insurance in place. These foreign facilities are likely to accept expatriate health insurance plans as opposed to their public counterparts. They will also commonly have the ability to facilitate direct billing, whereby the insurer is billed directly and you as an expatriate will not have to await reimbursement for any treatment costs. Always check with an insurer which facilities accept your insurance and which facilitate direct billing.

Accessibility to public facilities is high, with open access to all, including foreigners. The cost of treatment is low but the quality of service and treatment is most likely not what you would be accustomed to back home. There is no appointment system and no outpatient general practitioner and non-essential consultation services. Few public facilities accept international insurance plans.

Importantly, if you are willing to use public facilities as an expatriate you must prepare yourself for a culture shock. Most staff will not be able to converse in English and the standards of hygiene and privacy will likely not match those you are used to.

Those public facilities that do have more high grade facilities, some even possessing foreigner wards, will still likely present a cultural barrier for an expatriate.

Pharmacological needs vary. Pharmacies will almost certainly not have English speaking staff unless they are hosted within a HCF or foreign facility. Some medicines for specific situations may also not be available due to restrictions. In this case, a good insurance provider will acquire the needed medicine on your behalf from somewhere like Hong Kong.

The Cost of Safety

Private health insurance can seem costly, particularly for foreigners who arrive from countries with a generous welfare system. However there is a gap between perception and reality in terms of private health insurance for expatriates. Inpatient and emergency care while in China can cost you as little as 6,000 RMB per year. This is a worthy investment when considering an emergency or serious condition could otherwise set you back in excess of $100,000.

More comprehensive and bespoke health insurance coverage or one inclusive of outpatient care will cost more. The starting price usually being around 20,000 RMB per year. However these packages can be heavily tailored to either reduce cost or add additional benefits such as dental and maternity care. Whichever scheme you ultimately opt for, it is essential to seek private health insurance to avoid becoming one of the many unfortunate reports of expatriates who do fall ill or suffer injury without insurance.

New health insurance division for BlueStar AMG in China

health-insurance-expat-chinaWe’re delighted to announce that customers of BlueStar AMG in China can now benefit from a dedicated health insurance division which was launched this month.

This new service is open to individuals, families, groups and corporations, including locally registered companies – and is sure to provide you with real peace of mind for the future. With years of expertise in financial planning and management, our team of experts has all the tools they need to look in-depth at your specific insurance needs and give you independent advice that’s right for you.

We will take you through the process step by step, researching all the options available to you. You’ll be given comparative results from all the major international and domestic insurance companies which offer locally-regulated policies. This means you can be assured that you are getting the very best deal possible for your own personal circumstances.

If required, you will be able to use your insurance policy as a tax deductible item, while there is a number of local currency plans available. You will be aware how important health insurance is in China, where the costs of medical treatment can be astronomical – so do make sure that you, your loved ones, your colleagues and employees are covered in case the worst happens.

Our new health insurance offering adds to our ever-increasing portfolio of services which also includes pensions, QROPS, savings, education plans, asset management and property advice. With branches in six Asian countries, we support hundreds of clients each year with their financial needs – and they come back to us time and time again due to the excellent service we provide. New clients can always be assured that the advice we provide will be ethical, personalised and in line with current legislation.

For more information about BlueStar AMG and what we can do for you, visit our website at and click on our Contact Us page for details of your nearest branch.

Arranging health insurance is a huge priority for expats

health-insrurance-us-uk-expats-asiaYou’ve taken the bold step of becoming an expat and moving to a new country for work. Your ‘to do’ list is undoubtedly bigger than ever before, with all manner of decisions to be made about where to live, where to send the kids to school and how to organise your finances. But whatever choices you make about your new life, one of the most important things you can do is to arrange health care insurance as soon as you can.

Put simply, getting ill in a foreign country could bankrupt you if you don’t take steps to protect yourself and your family. None of us likes to think that we’ll get a serious illness or have a terrible accident, but it’s vital not to put your head in the sand about the future.

When looking for the right cover for you, your insurance broker will consider your medical background – though a health check will usually not be necessary. Your age will be a factor in determining the cover you are offered; it is safe to assume that you will pay more for your premiums the older you are.

Be aware that pre-existing conditions will not normally be covered through your insurance, though this may be reconsidered if the illness doesn’t reoccur for a certain period of time after the start of your policy. You can extend your medical insurance to cover your partner (this also refers to same sex relationships) as well as your children, while some insurers will allow you to add on extras like dental and maternity care, plus winter and water sports. Be advised, however, that conditions like infertility will not usually fall under the insurance remit – and any kind of cosmetic surgery will usually be refused.

You may be lucky and have a health insurance plan provided by your new employer. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the terms of the agreement, so you are confident that you’ll be covered if you are hospitalised, for example, or if you need long-term treatment. And bear in mind that you are unlikely to remain under the policy if you leave your company.

The main thing to ensure when choosing the right healthcare policy is to get personalised, independent advice from a licensed firm. The professional, knowledgeable team at BlueStar AMG can talk you through all the options available to you, so please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. There’s more information about the services we offer on our website.


Insurance offers real peace of mind if the worst happens

critical-illness-insurance-expats-asiaSerious illness is something that happens to other people. We’ll never get cancer, have a stroke, or develop multiple sclerosis. Of course we hear about it happening all the time, but it’s always to someone else – our neighbour, our colleague’s wife, our mother’s friend.

But the harsh fact is that serious, life limiting conditions could strike any of us at any time. And we need to be prepared if they do. We all need to consider how we would cope financially if the worst happened and we couldn’t work due to ill health. Would we be able to pay the mortgage, shell out for care workers or cover the cost of adaptations to the home?

For many of us, the answer to the above questions is no – and that’s why we need to think about an insurance policy that will come to the rescue in the case of an emergency. Did you know that amongst the top insurance companies, the average age of people claiming critical illness cover is around 45?

Critical illness cover will pay a lump sum once the condition has been diagnosed, helping with existing financial responsibilities such as mortgages and debts as well as contingent liabilities like possible university fees. Above all, the insurance will provide you with peace of mind that you will be financially secure during a time of enormous personal turbulence. And if the worst really did come to the worst, your family would be taken care of in the event of your death.

BlueStar AMG can support you in choosing the right kind of critical illness cover, taking you through a personal calculator to evaluate how much cover you might need. We look at your outstanding debts and monthly outgoings as well as the potential cost of treatment, specialist care or any adaptations you may need to make to your home. We’ll also consider possible changes to inflation and interest rates which may reduce the value of the claim amount in the future.

With us, you can be assured of a cash lump sum in the event of a critical illness or death, a prompt and compassionate service from our dedicated team and financial peace of mind.

No-one wants to think about getting seriously ill or passing away, but it’s something we all have to consider. So call BlueStar AMG today to discuss your requirements.

Put your trust in BlueStar AMG

Whether you’re an ex-pat seeking the best investment options or you’re looking for the right insurance deal for your business, BlueStar AMG is here to help.


Based across six countries in Asia, our team boasts over 100 years’ collective experience in the financial industry. We pride ourselves on our huge portfolio of services, which includes banking, medical insurance, retirement plans and asset management, as well as QROPS and FOREX. With such a broad range of ways in which we can help, you can be assured that our expert team will be able to deal with the vast majority of your financial requirements – so you’ll never have to go anywhere else.

We know the financial sector can be a minefield of regulations and constantly evolving products, so we keep our fingers on the pulse at all times, sharing our up-to-date knowledge with our clients in plain English. This friendly, jargon-free approach has won us hundreds of clients over the years, and it’s why they come back to us time and time again.

Such is our commitment to customer service that we formulated our iStar model to ensure we always do the best we can for our clients. iStar stands for:

  • Integrity – we strictly adhere to moral and ethical principles
  • Sincerity – we pride ourselves on our honest approach to business
  • Teamwork – we co-operate fully, both internally and externally
  • Accountability – the buck stops with us
  • Results orientated – we will always deliver

Take a look around our website to see all the ways we can help you make the most out of your money. There’s an informative FAQ section which will answer any initial questions you may have about the financial products on the market, while we’ve also got online financial tools to help you plan for your future.

So if you’re looking for financial advice, don’t hesitate to contact us today – one of our friendly team will be waiting to take your call.