SSC asked more about the living cost. Let me try to answer these “new” questions.
- What about medical expenses, like insurance, hospital visit, drug prices, and even “red packets”?
For medical expenses, it is really hard to give a guideline. It depends on what kind of illness you got. Also, for the insurance, it depends on how much you want to cover… Let me just give some examples, so people have a sense.
A typical hospital visit costs at least 100 RMB. If you just feel not good and want to go to see a doctor, no matter you just feel a little bit fever, or your teeth feel pain, or stomach does not feel good, you need to prepare some money. It works this way:
1. You need to pay the Registry Fee (挂号费). I don’t know how I should translate this into English. It is the fee you have to pay first at the counter to get a ticket. Without the ticket, no doctor will talk with you. Sometimes I just pay the 8 RMB (sometimes 13 RMB) to say hi to a doctor. :-) Just kidding.
2. The Laboratory Test Fee. Recently, doctors in most hotel I go to ask me to do the laboratory test before they give me any suggestion. Blood test and other test is typically 100 – 200 RMB.
3. Medicine Fee. Since recent hospital reform have put the revenue of medicine sell into the hospital’s P&L, and some even connect the doctor’s revenue of sales of medicine with the doctor’s bonus, most doctors are willing to give you more medicine than you actually need. I am often confused about the different types of medicine they gave me. Last time, I got a little bit fever, they give me several boxes of expensive medicines, and many others. I believe although the doctor was hurry to sell more medicine, he still care my health a little bit, so he told me: just eat this (the cheapest one). If you feel good, ignore the rest. If you don’t feel good, then you can try others. It seems he gave me enough backup drug that I even don’t need to take.
Well. For this part, it costs 100 – 200 RMB.
I don’t have any experience to end up within 100 RMB for whatever ill I got in the last three years. Most of the time, if I don’t go to hospital, two tablet of normal fever medicine works great for me.
OK. This is about the medicine and hospital part. As you can see, I am not a professional and I don’t have the ability to tell exactly whether it is the right medicine or not. I just feel I am over charged every time. Medicine is such a special good, that people seldom negotiate with doctors. The root cause is, the sale of medicine now happens in a hospital, instead of in drug store.
Most citizens in Shanghai enjoy basic medical insurance. I didn’t really argue with the doctors because although it was expensive, it came directly from my medical insurance account, and I don’t have to pay.
Employees pays a certain amount of social medical insurance from their salary at certain percent, and the employer pays the other part (majority). If I remember it correctly, employers pay 8% of the monthly salary and employee pays 2% of salary. After that, basic medical care is covered.
Besides social medical insurance, you can also buy commercial medical insurance. This really depends how much you want to cover, and it varies greatly from company to company, from contract to contract, and even varies for different age.
Just an example, I know a major disease medical insurance costs 2000 – 3000 RMB per year…
I don’t know exactly the situation of red bag, since I never encountered any serious health problem that requires a red bag. I heard it is not as popular as before. Many hospital hang big banner to claim they don’t tolerate receiving red bag for their doctors. I don’t know the real situation now.
How Expensive It is?
For most people with a job in Shanghai, it is OK to be sick, since the medical insurance covers most of normal disease. However, if there is serious disease (those may cause death), you have to use commerical insurance to cover.
Many people who don’t have that kind of insurance face serious challenge, and to raise money from family and friends, or people in the same company is typical solution.
For foreigners, or expats in Shanghai, i don’t know exactly that the sitution is. If someone has any experience, please feel free to share.