Healthcare in Hángzhōu



Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the people behind World Health Organization (WHO) China took it upon themselves to widen their area of concern and worked closely with the government in their health programs.

They tightened surveillance systems to determine any threats of infectious ailments like SARS and avian influenza. They are also concerned with the rise of HIV cases in China. With its recent health issues, China has strong linkages with United Nations (UN) agencies and other global organizations.

In 2005, the Chinese government had implemented a healthcare system overhaul as the rural poor clamored for medical care within their financial means. A citizen's annual cost of medical coverage amounts to CNY 50 (US$7.32); CNY 20 (US$2.93) is paid by the central government, CNY 20 (US$2.93) by the provincial government and CNY10 (US$1.46) is contributed by the patient. The system covers 60% of the bills in county clinics and 70-80% in hospitals or clinics in their local town. If the patient's medical concern calls for a specialist in a city hospital, the coverage will take care 30% of the hospital bill.

Furthermore, there is a serious imbalance of health professionals (1.5 physician per 1,000 patients) and hospital beds (2.4 per 1,000 patients). About 80% of hospitals are clustered in cities, making patients in rural areas devoid of immediate medical attention. To address this shortage, the Chinese government invested CNY 20 billion (US$2.4 billion) in 2005 to diffuse the availability of health services in towns and counties.

As of the late 2000s, there are nine healthcare institutions accredited by the Hángzhōu city health bureau and plenty of non-registered institutions being run by hotels and tourist agencies. Hángzhōu is open to collaborate with Hong Kong businesses to provide healthcare services.

Reports suggest that China's health insurance market is in its infancy in comparison to that of the developed nations in the West. Local insurance companies include IMG Ping'an, Good health China life and Taiping while international companies with offices in China are AXA MinmetalsInterglobal, MSH, among others. Hence, it would be wise to arrange your international health insurance in your home country, especially if your employer in Hángzhōu will not sponsor your health coverage throughout your stay.

Before purchasing a plan, make sure to consider if it will cover chronic conditions, dental care, emergency assistance and evacuation, in-patient and out-patient medical care, traditional Chinese medicine, maternity, pre-existing conditions, overall maximum benefit, deductibles and waiting period. The best thing your insurance can provide is its validity elsewhere in the world, especially in case of transfers, say to Hong Kong. Bear in mind that Hong Kong, along with Israel, ranks second most expensive healthcare system in the world, after the United States of America.

The abovementioned scenarios may appear depressing, but there are numerous expat-friendly hospitals and clinics to run to should emergency case arise. For their English-speaking and foreign-trained dentists and staff, hygienic and state-of-the-art technology, most expats trust the dental services of Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital, Ivy Dental Clinic and Hángzhōu Hengha Dental Hospital.


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Healthcare in China