International Maternity Insurance in China
Deciding to have a baby comes with careful, well-thought consideration, especially if you're living in Shanghai or elsewhere in China. There are the obvious questions like: should you travel back to your home country to give birth, or what are the costs of antenatal and delivery care in Shanghai? But one of the biggest things you need to be knowledgeable about is international maternity insurance in China.
With the ever-increasing cost of giving birth in Shanghai, expat pregnancy insurance is a necessary choice for those wanting a less stressful pregnancy; one where you aren't worrying about the price of your antenatal appointments, treatments and actual delivery. Some key questions about expat maternity insurance that need to be answered are: Do I need a separate insurance to cover my pregnancy and birth? Are there different options for levels of coverage, or any stipulations about when I can start making claims? Expatmedicare helps soon-to-be-expecting mothers navigate through the intricacies of international maternity insurance.
What is international maternity insurance?
Maternity insurance is an additional benefit that women can obtain with their existing health insurance policy that covers the medical costs associated with pregnancy & childbirth. Insurance companies typically vary on how much coverage they'll offer, and will offer different plans to suit different budgets. Before signing up for an international maternity insurance in China, you'll want to fully understand the details of your plan - what is and isn't covered - and ensure that externalities such as complications and newborn care are taken care of. Maternity insurance is crucial not only to ease the financial stress of pregnancy, but also to offer the best possible protection for your baby. To give you an idea, a full antenatal and birth care package can cost anything upwards of CNY60,000 at western hospitals in Shanghai, so it's better to be prepared!
What to look out for
There are many intricacies to be navigated and understood when choosing an international maternity insurance in China, but the five things that every mother must be mindful of when choosing and knowing her preferred plan are:
1. Waiting period
Most insurance companies require a waiting period of up to 12 months before the insured can receive maternity benefits. Insurance companies vary on their definitions of "waiting period" – sometimes it means a couple must wait until after the waiting period to conceive if they want to receive benefits, whereas other companies will begin covering maternity benefits as soon as the waiting period is over, even if the baby was conceived during this time. Waiting periods can be a bit confusing, which is why it's important that you have a clear understanding of your policy's definition and wording before you sign on the dotted line.
2. Congenital conditions
A baby who is born with any deformity or abnormality, is considered to have a congenital condition. Each insurance company will handle this in a different way, with some offering complete coverage and some offering none. You'll want to look closely at your policy to make sure that all eventualities are covered so as not only to protect your finances, but also the health of your newborn baby.
3. Newborn care
The first few days after birth are very important for your newborn who will be in need of examinations, tests and perhaps some vaccinations. Insurance companies handle newborn care differently, with some providing full coverage for tests and care for up to seven days after birth as part of their expat maternity insurance, and others providing little to no coverage. Be sure you know what your insurance will and won't cover for your newborn baby.
In most insurance policy wordings, complications in pregnancy are defined as conditions that come up in the prenatal stages of pregnancy. These companies will pay from outpatient benefits. However, complications in delivery are defined as conditions that occur during childbirth. For these kinds of complications, some insurance companies will pay from the inpatient benefit allowance. However, some insurance companies will group these two items together as maternity benefits (a pre-determined amount). You will want to have a clear understanding of how your policy takes care of these items in case a complication should arise during either your pregnancy or birth. While it's difficult to imagine, it's best to be prepared.
5. Delivery costs
When the time comes to give birth, the last question on your mind should be "is this covered?" As with many other maternity benefits, each insurance company differs on how they cover delivery costs. Be sure you have a clear understanding, and that all externalities are covered - from doctors and midwives' fees to post-natal care to general hospital bills.
One thing that expecting mothers shouldn't have to deal with is the worry of the cost of their baby. While it's easy to get overwhelmed with the planning of pregnancy and caring for a new baby, do not overlook the necessity of international maternity insurance in China so that you, your family and most importantly your baby, have the best level of protection available.
About Expatmedicare. Expatmedicare is a fully independent intermediary that specializes in advising expatriates on their international health insurance. They provide free health and medical insurance advice. Their comprehensive service ranges from helping clients review current coverage, determine requirements, to market research, evaluation, analysis and recommendation, application process and claim management.