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Author Topic: Health Insurance?  (Read 6113 times)

x0vash0x

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Health Insurance?
« on: December 03, 2014, 09:11:10 AM »

What do people do for health insurance? I'm looking at different options. But, just wondering what others do for health insurance to get some ideas and suggestions.
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computer_says_no

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Re: Health Insurance?
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2014, 12:41:29 PM »

Yep, I spent a few months researching health insurance policies. I've also dealt a bit with the Hefei hospital system over the years. A few of my opinions:

To get reasonable cover, you need to pay at least $2000 a year. There are some really cheap options through Chinese insurers such as PICC, Ping An, China Life, Tiankang etc. but the level of cover is grossly inadequate, so what's the point? These insurers also usually have some "premium" policy options with reasonable cover for a price similar to that of international insurance (still not as many inclusions though). But for the same price, why would you deal with a Chinese insurer when you could deal with a more established and reputable international insurer? Also, one of the big things you want to consider is customer service. When you're laid up in hospital, the last thing you want is to deal with Chinese customer service over things like pre-authorization, filing of claims, reimbursement etc. It's something you need to consider with the internationals too, but particularly with Chinese companies because the industry is less developed here. You'll also find that most of the big international insurers have substantial websites in English and online claims processing. The websites of Chinese insurers are very limited in English.

To operate in China, the big international insurers must have a Chinese partner or subsidiary. So policies being sold in China by international insurers are usually drawn up and administered by the international company but underwritten by a Chinese partner or subsidiary. e.g., AXA-ICBC. This is normal, as long as the customer service and admin side of things is being handled by the international insurer. One of the things I was wary of is insurers that use third-party companies, such as Medilink, for admin and claims processing. An international insurer should also have local branch offices in China, which is desirable because you can pay your premium in RMB, get reimbursed into your local bank account, and have local contact with hospitals if necessary. Such insurers also usually offer Greater China policies, which can sometimes help you save money.

I made enquiries with numerous brokers in Shanghai, both by email and phone. By far the best were Pacific Prime and Abacare. These two brokers have outstanding customer service and deal with pretty much all insurance companies. I also found that they did not push any one insurance company and were available any time over Skype. Both these brokers offered the best prices compared with any other broker.

In the end, I chose a policy with NowHealth-Minan (a HK-based global insurer) because of their policy options and prices but also because they have a reputation for good customer service, local branch office in Shanghai, substantial website in English, and big direct-billing network worldwide.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2014, 11:42:10 PM by humdinger »
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x0vash0x

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Re: Health Insurance?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2014, 01:08:48 AM »

I made enquiries with numerous brokers in Shanghai, both by email and phone. By far the best were Pacific Prime and Abacare. These two brokers have outstanding customer service and deal with pretty much all insurance companies. I also found that they did not push any one insurance company and were available any time over Skype. Both these brokers offered the best prices compared with any other broker.

In the end, I chose a policy with NowHealth-Minan (a HK-based global insurer) because of their policy options and prices but also because they have a reputation for good customer service, local branch office in Shanghai, substantial website in English, and big direct-billing network worldwide.

Thanks for the information! You've saved me the biggest hassle: trying to find reputable brokers. I know I definitely want to go through an international insurer for the reasons you mentioned, but I don't even know where to begin or what my options are. I'll give Pacific Prime and Abacare a call and see how it goes.
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MeiYouPengYou

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Re: Health Insurance?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2014, 03:27:51 AM »

I was covered by Aetna the five years I was in China. They were pretty good. And yes, about $2000 USD a year.
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A new hope with regards to life's feast.

x0vash0x

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Re: Health Insurance?
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2014, 09:06:04 AM »

I've been really impressed with Pacific Prime. Very quick and friendly. And I'm dealing with U.S personnel working out of Shanghai which is a huge bonus.

There is no way I would ever buy insurance from someone who wasn't fluent in English. Simply because health insurance is one of those things that must be exact and precise or else you could be out of a lot of money. I'm not going to deal with a language barrier when it comes to something like this.

So, moral: if anyone else is looking for insurance, I'd definitely start with Pacific Prime.
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computer_says_no

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Re: Health Insurance?
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2014, 12:23:12 PM »

If you also get in touch with Abacare you'll be able to get them to beat the prices you've been quoted. I flat out told them to give me a better price than their competition. At the end of the day, I found no difference between either broker -- they were both excellent. So it just came down to price. Others in Shanghai were more geared towards dealing with corporates, not individuals.
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