Whether the concern is cost, safety or logistics, One World Cover’s team of expert insurance consultants is always on hand to assist you when planning to add a new member to the family in China and other Asian countries.
It goes without saying that expatriate families encounter many stressful situations when adjusting to life abroad, however perhaps nothing may be quite as stressful as planning a pregnancy. Couples and families commonly express their apprehension to have a child outside their home country due to the amount of uncertainties surrounding how to carry out the process in a relatively new and unfamiliar living environment.
As a specialist health insurance broker with operations established in China for a number of years now, One World Cover receives many questions regarding the availability and level of maternity cover available in the country for both large groups and individuals on a near-daily basis, and these typically include the following:
– Can we find a safe hospital in mainland China? How far will we have to travel?
– How much does a delivery typically cost in China?
– Will we have access to check-ups throughout the course of the pregnancy?
– Are the methods the same as what we’re used to at home?
– Will our international health insurance plan allow us to return to our home country to have the baby delivered?
– We are already pregnant, can we still obtain cover for the delivery?
Again, One World Cover’s team of experienced insurance consultants is always happy to answer any questions you may have on an individual, one-on-one basis. We will review with you each international insurer and their available plans with maternity benefits step-by-step to give you clear answers about all your questions and concerns, so the logistics of planning a pregnancy need not be the determining factor in the decision on bringing a new baby into the family.
Expecting to be expecting? Buy maternity cover now
It is important to note that under international health insurance plans you as the user are only able to make changes to the benefit structure at the renewal period once each year – whether covered through a group policy with your company or international school, or as an individual. This means that you don’t want to get stuck out in the cold if you decide to have another child but forgot to obtain a plan design that includes maternity cover. It is key that expat families plan ahead by purchasing comprehensive cover that will not force you to wait for the benefit to be added upon renewal at the end of the policy year.
More importantly, perhaps the most frustrating aspect of international insurers’ maternity cover is the dreaded waiting period. Often unbeknownst to One World Cover’s new expatriate clients, in order to avoid the extraordinarily high medical claims resulting from unplanned pregnancies, insurers in China apply a waiting period typically ranging from 10 months to one year on maternity cover under comprehensive health insurance plans. In other words, upon purchasing a policy including maternity benefits, you are still not entitled to claim for reimbursement on medical treatment relating to pregnancy until you have been fully covered under the plan for the set time as designated by your insurance provider. Therefore if your new born baby is conceived before the waiting period on maternity has lapsed, you will still be responsible for paying ALL medical expenses relating to the pregnancy out-of-pocket, with the total cost sometimes exceeding Rmb100,000.
Finally, you may have noticed in the preceding paragraphs our inclusion of the word ‘comprehensive’ to describe medical insurance plans providing maternity cover. When we refer to an insurance policy as being comprehensive, it is meant to indicate the plan includes cover for both inpatient (hospitalization) treatment of serious injuries and illnesses as well as outpatient treatment of minor medical conditions. Very few insurers available on the China market today allow clients to purchase inpatient only plans whilst still enjoying full maternity benefits, nor are there any stand-alone maternity policies available at this time.
Simply put, it is absolutely essential for expatriate couples who are staying in another country for an extended period of time to make sure they will have all life-choice options available to them in advance, whether they are 100% certain or still undecided about having a baby. This means obtaining a comprehensive benefit plan that includes maternity cover, so that when the time comes your health insurance is on your side.
What to look for in a plan including maternity?
When reviewing available plan designs including maternity benefits, the clutter of insurance jargon can often distract you from pinpointing the most crucial benefits that will be necessary when your family’s nine-month countdown begins. Fortunately for you an expert insurance consultant from One World Cover is your assigned broker, and to get you moving in the right direction we would like to share this brief check-list to serve as a quick reference on what to look for in your medical insurance plan:
Inpatient and hospitalization
Cover for inpatient (hospitalization) treatment is the staple of any medical insurance plan, and given the relative expense of such treatment, the reason most people want medical insurance cover.
Adding cover for outpatient treatment, or medical treatment for minor injuries and illnesses, creates a more comprehensive medical insurance package. Note most international insurers in China require outpatient treatment be added to a plan in order to also include maternity benefits.
This typically standard core benefit provides cover for evacuations, often by air ambulance, to the nearest appropriate medical facility for treatment when the insured cannot receive proper care at the location where the injury/illness occurred.
Adding maternity cover to your medical insurance plan tends to most significantly increase premium, and a waiting period ranging from 10 months to one year will apply. Also be mindful of the insurer’s other benefits relating to maternity, including complications of pregnancy, congenital conditions, and new born baby cover.
Geographic area of cover
Although rest assured there are many international hospitals and medical clinics in mainland China more than capable of ensuring a smooth and safe delivery, some expatriates would still prefer to have the option of electing to delivery their baby in a country better known for high quality medical care or at home. If this is the case for your family, then consider the geographic area within which you are fully covered. If cover is restricted to mainland China only, then perhaps you may wish to expand the area of cover to Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) or Worldwide excluding the US.
Which international insurers in China provide comprehensive maternity cover?
The following plan designs from our most popular international insurers for individuals and families provide cover options for maternity, with direct billing available at international hospitals and medical clinics in China: