Studying in China - All you need to know about health insurance

Health insurance card for studying in China
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Studying in China - All you need to know about health insurance

If you’re planning to go studying in china, here it is something very important you need to know before you leave: having an health insurance in China is not mandatory, but if you don’t want to risk your health and/or you financial well-being, you should definitely make sure that you are covered for medical treatments in China.

Indeed, it is strongly recommended, before your expatriation date, to subscribe to an international health insurance including medical evacuation.

Why is important to have a health insurance when you’re going to china? Medical attention in China is not free, and in many cases, can be more expensive than some private hospitals in the West.

Therefore, if you don’t have adequate health insurance, you can go bankrupt if you suffer from a minor illness or an accident. To get an idea, minor surgery can cost up to multiple tens of thousands of Yuan.

Health care options for studying in China
Chinese doctors reading a document

In china is possible to find 3 categories of hospitals: public hospitals, private hospitals and international hospitals. 

Public hospitals (except for rare exceptions) are far from meeting Western standards, are normally packed with people, the attention is poor, the facilities in many cases leave a lot wanting, and the privacy is quite rare. In addition, you have to remember that staff will not speak a single word of English (some doctors might be able to say four or five phrases).

All major cities now have ultramodern international hospitals with international staff. They offer westernised consultations which are better adapted to the expatriate community. The cost of the service is significantly higher and it is often requested that payment be made in advance. When going to hospital, it is advised to always carry with you either a credit card, or cash. If you use private health facilities, holding a private health insurance in China is strongly recommended.

There are different type of health insurance such as: university health insurance (the one given by your university when you’ll start studying in china), Chinese health insurance or international insurance. The last one is the most convenient for expats in terms of what it covers but it’ll be more expensive.

An international health insurance for China is often a better option for expats than a local health plan. It offers you the freedom of your choice of doctors or medical centre, and the possibility of being covered internationally.

Chinese doctor drawing a graph on the chinese flag

If you prefer to be treated in your home country or in another country within your zone of cover your medical costs will be reimbursed by your insurance company (within the limits of your policy). Moreover, if you stop studying in china and leave China to move elsewhere your international insurance may be able to follow you.

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