Shanghai Health System

Shanghai health system

You are planning to move to Shanghai or have lived there for a long time. It is important to know the local health system. The cares provided in Shanghai depends a lot on where you choose to seek treatment. Private hospitals are at the cutting edge of technology and have highly qualified doctors, public hospitals are more inconstant. Shanghai health system can be difficult to understand.

With this article we will review the Shanghai healthcare system and see how to receive the best care.

Before you start, some useful information:

Ranking: 40th best health system

Life expectancy: 76 years

Mainland Chinese population: 1,398,000,000

Cost of health care: 5.5% of GDP

Covid vaccination rate: 54%


  • Vaccinations included in the vaccination book
  • Hepatitis A: 1 injection 15 days before departure, children from the age of 1 year.
  • Some other vaccines, which depend on the place and the season. More information 

Emergencies: (police, fire brigade, ambulance): 999

Water: China have serious water pollution problems. It is not recommended to consume tap water. Prefer water in a bottle.

Air pollution: The city of Shanghai as well as a number of chineses cities, regularly experience high pollution peaks. People at risk (children, old people, people with heart problems, etc.) are more likely to suffer from local pollution.

The only way to solve this risk is to minimize exposure to pollution. Note that in recent years, the city of Shanghai put in place everything possible to reduce this pollution. Be careful, however, of pollution peaks, especially in summer.

Chinese Medicine In Shanghai in this article.

Useful links:


Shanghai health system

In general, the Shanghai health system is relatively good. It is based on advanced technologies as well as traditional Chinese medicine. This mix of culture, allows to receive very good care. This is due to excellent quality care, state-of-the-art equipment and qualified doctors. It is also easier to find an acupuncturist and / or a traditional doctor even in private hospitals.

Private system or public system?

Although generally good, the health system in Shanghai, and more generally in China, is a multi-faceted health system. Public hospitals are often overcrowded and far from Western standards. Private hospitals are at the cutting edge of technology, even luxury.

Seeking treatment in a public hospital in China can be maddening. First of all, the language barrier. In Shanghai there are a lot of doctors speaking a little English, but it is not always easy to communicate.

It is therefore recommended to seek treatment in the private sector or in the VIP services of public hospitals. It may also be preferable in some remote areas of China to seek treatment in large cities or abroad.

So what to choose in Shanghai? It is important to be aware of the differences.
  • Public sector: Public hospitals, divided into two separate departments: a section for locals and a VIP section, with English speaking doctors. The prices for consultations are higher on the VIP side. But the care is closer to Western methods.
  • Private sector: The international hospitals are state-of-the-art, with medical staff from abroad or speaking perfect English. The consultations are adapted to an expatriate population, and the customer service is even close to some luxury hotels. However, the pricing of medical services is much higher.

By following this information, the private sector seems more adequate on many points, despite sometimes astronomical prices, it is therefore important to have medical coverage adapted to your needs.

Do not forget to inquire about the cost of medical expenses of the establishments you wish to consult!

Overview of medical costs in Asia

Soon the list of main hospitals in Shanghai

Overview of medical costs in Shanghai

  • In the private sector:

General practitioner: 300 -1,200 yuan (38 and 153 euros)

Specialist doctor: 600 – 2,100 yuan (76 – 268 euros)

Hospitalization: 5,500 yuan (704 euros) for a private room, average price, can go much higher.

Dentist: 500 – 1500 yuan (65 – 197 euros); For a crown: 6,500 – 9,700 yuan (850 – 1275 euros)

  • In the public hospital :

General practitioner & specialist: 15 yuan (1.92 euros) and 200 yuan (25 euros) in the VIP section

Hospitalization: 180 yuan (23 euros) – 1,500 yuan (192 euros)

Dentist: 230 yuan (30 euros)

All the information to have a baby in Shanghai

Prepare your expatriation

Expatriate health insurance in Shanghai

To cover the high costs of the Shanghai healthcare system, it is imperative to take out insurance. There are two types of insurance in Shanghai, local insurance and international insurance.

  • Local health insurance: Local insurance has the advantage of being much cheaper than private insurance. In fact, coverage is only limited to Shanghai, which reduces the risk for the insurer. However, in the event of a health problem, your contributions can be severely impacted.
  • International health insurances: These insurances will cover you in most countries of the world. They also usually have repatriation and emergency evacuation insurance that can come in handy in the event of an accident abroad. Thus, if you prefer to seek treatment in your country of origin or another country in the event of a specific pathology, your medical expenses will be covered. The ceilings are also much higher and allow you to have a wider choice of the practitioners you wish to consult and the treatments you wish to receive. Finally, the third-party payment network for these insurances is very developed.
  • Complementary to CFE (also international insurance): As a French person or the spouse of a French expatriate, it is possible to subscribe to the CFE. Our guide for CFE here. This can prove to be excellent value for money compared to other insurances. Thanks in fact to a low price, with a low annual increase and a wide coverage.

How to find this insurance?

The easiest way is to compare all the offers one by one, but it’s not an insurance professional who wants to. The waste of time is considerable.

To help you hire a broker is often the most advantageous solution. Indeed, he can give you sound advice to guide you on the right insurance.

Our team of experts can help you with this process, and help you find the perfect insurance for your needs. In addition, our perfect knowledge of Shanghai, thanks to our representative office and our back office on site, allows us to stay informed as much as possible and to be as close as possible to help you. Contact us!

To go further you can also read our article which lists the qualities of good insurance here.

Stay connected with your health insurance!



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