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Healthcare in China and Travel Insurance Last updated on 2019-06-14

Traveling is exciting but unpredictable, and that means you need to be prepared for unforeseen events and unexpected accidents when planning a trip to a foreign country. In this article, we will give an overview of China's local healthcare facilities and some tips for purchasing travel insurance to help you stay safe and healthy during your trip.

Standard and Availability of Healthcare in China

China’s healthcare infrastructure consists of a mix of public and private institutions. Due to reforms of the medical system in the past decade, most Chinese cities have modern hospitals that feature high-standard facilities. In Beijing and Shanghai, there are multiple local hospitals that offer modern, world-class medical service. Most illnesses and injuries can thus be properly and efficiently treated in big cities while you are traveling in China.

Public Chinese hospitals, while not free, are inexpensive relative to Western standards and simple treatments are affordable.

The biggest problem when seeking treatment at a Chinese medical facility is likely to be the language barrier. In public hospitals, some doctors may speak a little English, but most other staff, including nurses, won't speak any English. If you need medical care while on one of our tours, your guide will accompany you and help with communication. However, independent foreign travelers may face communication problems at public hospitals.

In big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, there are private international hospitals that can serve foreigners. They offer services in English and even some other languages. Their facilities and care are at the international level, but their costs are much higher. These hospitals are only recommended for travelers with travel insurance that can cover these costs, or for those particularly concerned about the language barrier.

Outside of big cities, healthcare standards may be lower and more sparse, so travelers with health issues should keep this in mind when planning a trip to China. Be sure to consult with your physician before your trip to determine whether it is safe for you to travel.

Travel Insurance

While you are traveling in China, many tickets or services you purchase may include a certain amount of insurance. However, this insurance usually only covers minor events and does not include sufficient protection to cover serious accidents. Moreover, it is not easy to claim compensation in China after you have an accident. Therefore, we strongly suggest that all travelers to China purchase travel insurance in their home countries. That way, you can be prepared and lessen the burden—both mental and financial—in the unlikely event of an emergency.

Travel insurance should cover your medical expenses and emergency medevac services in case of an accident during your trip. Good travel insurance plans also cover things like loss, theft, or damage to personal belongings; trip cancellations or interruptions; and extended travel delays. When buying travel insurance, please consult with your insurer about the recommended hospitals available in the areas where you will be traveling, as well as whether you need to pay up-front or whether the insurer will pay the hospital directly.

Because different countries may have their own preferred insurers and different travelers have different insurance requirements, our tours do not include international travel insurance. However, we are happy to offer advice on what kind of travel insurance to purchase and where.

Recommended International Hospitals in Beijing and Shanghai

United Family Healthcare (Beijing & Shanghai)
Vista Medical Center (Beijing)
International Medical Care Center of Shanghai General Hospital (Shanghai)

Emergency Assistance Numbers in China

Emergency services: dial 120
Fire department services: dial 119
Police services: dial 110


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