Insurance coverage

Yes, expats need insurance in China

Expats living and working in China, Shanghai in particular, have expressed a strong desire for insurance protection, and here are their views on the matter.

Chung Hwa from Malaysia, project manager in Shanghai:

“Personally, I think it’s necessary, especially accident insurance.”

He purchased a plan through an agent on a friend’s recommendation with Ping An Life Insurance last July.

Premium: around 4,000 yuan (627 USD) per year

He has already had two accidents: lower back pain while mopping the floor and a fall from a motorcycle.

Cost: about 2,000 to 3,000 yuan

He has not filed a complaint yet, because the procedure is complicated and an offline visit is necessary.


Christopher Brantley from the United States, senior consultant at a leadership consulting firm in Shanghai:

“It is necessary.”

So far, he hasn’t used insurance here.

The company arranged some plans as part of his employment contract.

Yes, expats need insurance in China


Nadhem Zitouni from France, general manager of an industrial machinery company in Guangzhou:

“I think it’s still very important.”

The most important service for him is the ease of reimbursement and the existence or not of direct billing.

He used a total of three health insurance policies which were arranged by his company.

He had refund issues with the first one (via MSH International).

The second (via MSH China) had some limitations.

He’s been using the third (via ICBC-AXA) for seven years and had no problems.

The cost is around 35,000 to 40,000 yuan per year.

He didn’t think about local products or government-run medical plans, focusing primarily on international health insurance.

Yes, expats need insurance in China


Elodie from France, operations manager at an industrial machinery services company in Shanghai:

“Worth buying yi fang wan yi (manage the risks even if those chances are very low).”

She has self-funded health coverage through ICBC-AXA that a friend recommended to her.

She doesn’t want to go through the hassle of product selection.

The most important service for her: direct billing.

She also wanted insurance covering private hospitals on direct billing (she is going to SinoUnited Health).

No issues with coverage so far, and everything is 100% direct billing.

She undergoes an annual checkup and has also had weekly physiotherapy appointments for her back and knee.