The Ultimate Guide to China’s Health Insurance

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By RobertBass

In-Patient Coverage

The most important component of any health plan is in-patient coverage. It should be available to everyone regardless of their age, fitness level, or health history. In-patient care refers to when a doctor admits you to a hospital for treatment. This is usually done in an emergency situation, such as car accidents, severe viral diseases, or other expensive conditions.

Out-Patient Coverage

Outpatient coverage accounts for 85% of all insurance claims. It refers to any medical care that does not require hospitalization of more than 12 hours. This covers everything from a simple cold to surgery and long-term diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

The coverage you get depends on the plan. Out-patient plans can only be bought with in-patient coverage. The maximum payout limits for plans are 10,000rmb up to those without limits. However, they will be limited by your core plan, the in-patient plan. Many plans include coverage for doctors, specialists, diagnostic testing and vaccinations. Some plans include prescription glasses and eye exams, as well as chiropractic treatments, herbal medicine or acupuncture. There is also a limit on out-patient care (see below). The details of what is included will depend on which plan you choose. You’ll need to read the fine print.


Many people use travel insurance to obtain cheap coverage in expats in China. Many people are unaware that travel insurance ceases to work once you become a resident of China (i.e. You get a job or are a full-time student. You can still use it if you travel to other countries but not in your home country — China.

When you sign up for insurance, you will need to answer a lot of questions about your health. This includes drug and alcohol histories, BMI information, and, most importantly, any pre-existing conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

What is the difference between brokers and agents?

Agents and brokers both sell insurance on behalf insurance companies and earn commissions. A broker can represent any insurance company or product in the country they are licensed. A broker can usually only represent one insurance company. However, in China, the rules are different and agents might be able to represent multiple insurance companies. Brokers can sell a variety of insurance products, including commercial, life and medical insurance. Agents cannot sell more than one type of insurance.

It is generally easier to establish an agency than a brokerage. However, it costs 60 million rmb to open a licensed brokerage. Hughes estimates that a 75% Chinese-owned company would require 60 million rmb. You should ensure that the brokerage you are buying insurance through is licensed.