Healthcare at a Foreign Managed Shanghai International Hospital and Clinic

A Shanghai international hospital or clinic can be a confusing place. This article will help you to make sense of your interaction

Most expats who have health insurance coverage provided by their company will choose a foreign invested Shanghai hospital or clinic when seeking medical care.

We have a list of Shanghai international hospitals at the end of the article.

Most foreign medical insurance plans can be accepted for direct billing by these medical centers, while others can be used to get reimbursement after treatment based on receipts and doctors' reports.

It is important to understand what your medical insurance plan will cover, and how you can get reimbursed, before using any services. If your plan is not extensive, then you should immediately let the doctor know your concerns about the fees, and ask them to go over them with you first.

Standard consultation fees range from US$60-130, much higher than at a public Shanghai hospital. The fees for tests and treatments are also much higher.

Shanghai International Hospital

Shanghai's hospitals and clinics can be a maze of confusion for expats

Worth It, Even If You're Paying?

Even if you need to cover some or all of the expenses yourself, there are many benefits to use the services of a Shanghai international hospital or clinic.

Although none of them are on the scale of the public state-run Shanghai hospitals, they are growing in both size and numbers to offer more and more services. Many also have cooperation with the large public hospitals, so they can make use of their premises and equipment if needed.

The doctors who work for international hospitals and clinics in Shanghai are usually foreigners, otherwise Chinese who have trained and worked overseas. Their English skills, therefore, are excellent. Doctors who speak other foreign languages are also available at many of them.

It is quite easy to make an appointment over the phone in English, something impossible to do for a Shanghai public hospital.

Personal Care

The biggest benefit is the much better personal care you will receive.

The foreign doctors will:

  • take the time to learn about your medical history and keep records for future reference
  • spend more time to analyze your general overall health
  • take more care to ensure you are not overusing medications
  • as they are not rushed for time, the doctors will also give you more advice on preventive care

After a consultation and treatment, therefore, you will feel more confident that you have obtained the best care, based on a thorough consideration of all your health issues.

Many of the foreign managed international hospitals and clinics in Shanghai also offer Mental Health care services and dental services for Shanghai expats.

The main obstacles to the growth of foreign invested international hospitals in China are the regulations limiting whole ownership, and the difficulty for them to participate in the Chinese state health insurance scheme.

Only investors from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau are allowed to wholly own an international hospital in some cities in China, while investors from foreign countries are limited to less than 100 percent ownership, with the allowed amount varying by city.

The Chinese government recently announced, however, a goal of private enterprises providing approximately 20 percent of China's healthcare services by 2015, and foreign investors would be involved in helping to reach this goal.

Already many foreign invested Shanghai international hospitals and clinics have started to serve high-wealth local Chinese who are willing to pay out of their own pocket for higher quality healthcare.

Foreign invested hospitals and clinics are also lobbying to participate in the Chinese state health insurance system, so they can serve more middle-class Chinese citizens who would be able to partially reimburse their fees.

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