Beijing International Medical Insurance

Healthcare in Shanghai

Ask any local or expat who has lived in Shanghai, the common consensus is that this city offers a decent healthcare service and the good thing is that it continues to improve. The private healthcare in the city are primarily provided by foreign doctors who practice Western Medicine and they represent the default healthcare providers for many expatriate communities living here. As choices are varied, it is best that you do some checking around prior to your departure to Shanghai on the availability of medical care that best caters for yourself and your family. In Shanghai, it is common to find medical facilities that are linked to the various expatriate communities; nevertheless the depth and breadth of individual medical facility will be dependent on factors such as community size and local availability.

Naturally, offering of Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) is ubiquitous in Shanghai. It represents a complimentary alternative to the expats based here, other than the usual western medicine. This particular branch of medicine has both its detractors as well as supporters; some would not agree to its virtue but there are also some paying them a lot of credits after benefitting from TCM. Massage service is also commonplace in Shanghai but charges at clinics may vary significantly across as a result of differing trainings and qualifications, as well as the depth of service offered. Usually such massage clinics would incorporate traditional Chinese medicine as part of their offerings; with a number of them expanding their services to include manicure and pedicure, for example.

Healthcare Facilities in Shanghai

Due to language and culture familiarity, it is no wonder that western-run or western-style medical clinics are the destinations of choice for expats based in Shanghai. In addition to those, you can also seek medical assistance from certain designated facilities in the city. They are assigned by Shanghai health authority and commonly referred to as foreigners’ clinics, but be prepared to lower your expectation as these are sometimes perceived to be lacking in management and expertise. One other issue here is that most clinics do not use English as a working language, so brush up your Chinese vocabulary or get a colleague or friend who is comfortable with Chinese language to go along with you.

In general, the quality of care is decent and the cost reasonable but always make an effort to check the kind of care administered before you head for one of those foreigners’ clinics. Pay attention that some local hospitals would not take on foreigners unless they are on emergency situations.

Private Medical Facilities

Alongside with economic prosperity, Shanghai has seen its private healthcare boosted. Majority of these private hospitals and clinics are joint venture projects. Subject to the staff competency and availability of modern medical equipment, you will find the treatment from private establishments to vary a lot from one another.

Where major disease is involved, majority of the expats would choose to head home for the necessary medical treatment; some have also opted to seek treatments from other Asian cities such as Bangkok and Hong Kong. Shanghai still suffers from the perception that specialized treatment is still inadequate locally.

Western-styled medical clinics are commonplace in Shanghai and the practitioners are competent and qualified to discharge their medical help. Over the recent years, the number of western-trained general practitioners has exploded due to the continual expansion of the Shanghai expatriate communities.


Shanghai does not have a law that require immunizations on visitors but its advisable to have immunizations against Hepatits A & B, Japanese encephalitis and rabies when you plan to travel to the city. It makes all the more sense to be sufficiently immunized before you arrive here but alternatively you can approach the Shanghai medical clinics for the required immunizations (be sure to check if they have the capability to deal with all your desired immunizations).

Due to strict legislation, you will find some of the common drugs you find in other cities may not be easily available here over the counter when you approach the Shanghai medical stores. We would usually advise that all your basic medical supplies should be bought at home and have them shipped to Shanghai. Legislation would require you to apply for an import certificate for your medical shipment even though customs officers rarely check on the content. For prescribed medicines, proof of prescription is similarly required.