My name is Philip, I am an expat in China and I have been insured with Foyer Global Health for the past 4 years.
My adventure in China has started many years ago. I moved here in 2015 with a MNC for which I have been working for 18 years. Before moving to China, I have lived almost 7 years in India and 8 years in the Middle East.
Life in China is very different than in Europe for a foreigner like me. There are some communities where nobody speaks English, you have to learn how to communicate and build your own network. I am the only foreigner in my company, so I had nobody at first to talk to. There were no guidelines for foreigners, therefore I had to get the information through Internet or online communities such as Wechat (nb: China’s messaging and calling app). You can find groups where you need to be invited and where people share experiences and recommendations about hospitals for example.
In terms of healthcare in China, you need to be self-managed with your medical data. You should build up your own knowledge about which doctor is right to visit. There are many differences between local Chinese clinics and international hospitals. On one hand, doctors see thousands of patients a day, they work very fast and are very prompt in their explanations, however they have a lot of experience. On the other hand, you find doctors who see 5 patients a day, have studied or worked abroad and are open to questions. Their explanations are more comparable to western doctors. However, they are less experienced. One concrete and funny example are blood tests: in the international hospital, they poke you 3 or 4 times – which is very painful! – whereas in the local hospital, you barely feel the needle as doctors are used to do it many times a day.
There is also a price difference. A simple visit and check-up would cost you at least a hundred dollars in a Western clinic, whereas you get basic treatments for less than that in a regular Chinese hospital.
In that sense, as an expat in China you must trade off and find the right balance between numerous health providers. My recommendation is to go to the local clinic whenever you know which health issue you have. If you don’t know which condition, you would rather visit an international clinic where they often ask for their colleagues’ opinions. It is also good to have a health partner like Foyer Global Health which gives you the opportunity to ask for Second Medical Opinion and contact a European doctor.
I already used this service for an issue I had with my leg. I have consulted 5 doctors here in China: three of them had one interpretation of the MRI scan, the two others had diagnosed something else. It was very confusing, so I decided to make a Second Medical Opinion request which was very helpful to me. The MRI image I had was not very clear. The doctor from Foyer Global Health’s network indicated me different settings for the MRI machine. Then here I was, basically giving instructions to the hospital staff on how to use these new parameters. The MRI image was eventually much clearer, and it turned out that 3 out of the 5 doctors gave me a wrong diagnosis. I had to be operated immediately, so Second Medical Opinion was a true helping hand with this situation!
I am very grateful for this experience especially and for Foyer Global Health where I have been insured for almost 4 years. I discovered the company online. An acquaintance recommended two insurance companies including Foyer Global Health. I made my own comparison between the services, coverage and cost. I finally chose Foyer Global Health by my own, the main reasons being the scope of benefits and the good value for money.
As an established client, my feedback is positive and the experience better than with my previous health insurer who was part of Siemens’ worldwide network. With Foyer Global Health, the communication is faster and more customer oriented. 99% of my interactions with the teams were very pleasant and I did not encounter any issue for 9 out of 10 claims I sent to Foyer. Overall, I am very happy and would give 8,5/10 if I had to rate my satisfaction. I would also recommend Foyer Global Health to other expats!