Medical Care in China

In my 8 years in the Land of the Dragon, I have seen for myself the quality of care for the Chinese. As a teacher back in Shanghai, I used to go to the community hospital (the equivalent of a polyclinic in Singapore) in my town for primary care, and will go to the city hospitals for more serious stuff. My children went to the local pediatric hospital in the city when they need medical attention.

The concept of the family physician or the GP (General Practitioner) is non-existent. The doctors also see tons of patients every day, and have no chance to build any relationship with the visitors, like the polyclinics in Singapore. Not only that, but they have an irritating habit of wanting to put you on drip for every little illness, and will put you on tons of tests for every little thing (including a blood test for the flu). With health insurance not provided by the company, I did not have much choice but to go local.

My present company gives me health insurance, and so the world of expat hospitals and clinics open to me. Small clinics that serve the local community (including rich Chinese) employ GPs, whom we have gotten very close to. Our family physician, for instance, is also a friend as well. We occasionally go for drinks together. We can communicate in English, and most importantly, we trust the standard of care and ethics in the doctors.

Things get complicated, however, when it comes to surgery and more complex issues. I found that out for myself firsthand when I took a student who broke an arm to Shanghai Family United Hospital, a few years ago. The western physician that saw her noted she needed surgery, and called upon the pediatrician of the attached local hospital. He explained to us that foreign doctors are not licenced to conduct surgery in China, even though their hospitals are licenced to operate in the nation.

And how bad could a Chinese surgery be? A superior in my previous school and a teacher in my present school have seen for themselves – hospitals full of pools of blood all over the place. Another teacher, whose husband was admitted to hospital for a heart attack, was even more shocked. She was allowed in the operating theatre, ungowned. The surgeon wanted to use instruments that she saw lying around when she went in, and she had to insist on them opening up a fresh package of instruments. In the middle of the surgery, someone opened the door to the operating theatre, ungowned, and then walked out.

Medical personnel in developed countries must be suffering seizures by now from reading of such malpractice. Infection is the number one killer in any form of surgery, and yet the atmosphere of lassez faire prevails within the Chinese hospitals of a first and second tier city in China. And since it is so expensive, the insurers are not willing to fly expats out for treatment, noting the clause that patients can only be flown out if the local facilities are unable to treat them!

Expats to China, take note!

How to Get Medical Care Without a Formal Health Plan

As costs for medical treatment skyrocket and more Americans are without health insurance than ever before, many people are left wondering what they are going to do when they need medical care and have no plan. If you are someone without health insurance and are in need of medical treatment, here is a brief guide to help you though this difficult time.

5 Ways To Get Medical Treatment Without Formal Insurance:

1) Enroll in a discount health plan. Depending on what you’re budget is and what your medical needs are, there are plenty of medical health plans that aren’t formal insurance. These are great because they have no pre-existing condition requirements, no benefit caps, and you don’t have to worry about submitting complicated claim forms–you get a discount when you present your discount health plan card. In addition, many discount medical health plans are accepted by a wide-variety of physicians. A good discount medical plan provider will have a searchable database for physicians in your area.

2) Search for independent doctor’s offices in your area. These doctors are independent from corporations and run a private facility. A key attribute to look for in these types of healthcare providers is a well-received reputation in the community. These types of doctors are generally, easier to find in smaller cities. Also, when you’re calling to make an appointment, be sure to clearly state that you have no insurance and have little money. If you have a discount medical plan like the aforementioned, be sure to inquire if they accept it.

3) Find local schools or medical learning centers. These institutions often offer greatly discounted treatments by students.

4) If you’re concerned about treatment in the event of an emergency, you should look into the EMTALA or the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act. If you were recently laid-off from a job where you and/or your family had medical health plans you can be entitled to coverage from your insurer. Specifically, the act states that insurance companies provide insurance for laid-off individuals at a reduced rate if they were enrolled in a plan through their previous employer.

5) If you decide to go the emergency room for your ailment, without insurance or a discount health plan, go to the hospital billing office after you’re released. Under some circumstances, you may be able to have your bill waived if you have no job or no way to feasibly pay the health care costs.

All in all, don’t give up on finding medical care and remember that a discount health plan is much better than nothing. If you truly need to see a healthcare professional, don’t wait. Your illness may continue to get worse and in turn, cost more to treat. On the other side of the coin, make sure you’re truly sick before you go out and spend money on a doctor. Wait out common cold and flu symptoms and treat them at home, unless they last for more than 2 weeks.

Are You Dreaming of Free Medical Care? Wake Up!

Are You Dreaming of Free Medical Care? Wake up! There’s been much debate over our current medical system and the insurance required to get quality care at a price we can all afford. While it would be great to have minimal costs for our medical care, we are still only in the debate of changing the system.

For now, all we can do is to learn how to get the health insurance policy to cover our needs without spending in excess or paying for coverage you’ll never use.

Obviously, you hope you and your family won’t have to use your health insurance policy, but in today’s society, the chances are great that you’ll need the coverage of a health insurance policy more than once during the course of a year. Without at least a minimum amount of coverage, just a visit to a general physician and lab fees can be astronomical. It’s important to get and maintain an adequate health insurance policy both in terms of health and financial security.

To get a health insurance policy that’s not outrageously priced, yet still covers your anticipated and unexpected healthcare costs there are three steps you need to take. 1) Careful evaluation of you and your family’s health insurance needs. 2) Compare health insurance policy benefits with your needs. Try to review at least three levels of coverage. 3) Your result will be a health insurance policy that’s not outrageously priced; yet still covers your anticipated and unexpected healthcare costs.

Determine Your Needs Whether you’re looking for an individual health insurance policy, or want to provide health insurance benefits for your employees, it’s a good idea to carefully evaluate your needs before committing to any health insurance policy.

For the individual, consider your overall health. Do you have chronic conditions that require regular medical visits? Are you on prescription medications on a continuous basis? Either of these situations will make you want to compare co-pays and drug coverage carefully.

Depending on your age, and stage of family planning, pregnancy coverage, and preventative care could be a major concern. If you’re nearing retirement age, getting supplemental coverage for impending Medicare benefits could be a major concern.

Everyone has his own special concerns and needs. Before you visit an insurance agent, be sure to list your concerns and questions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions until you’re confident you have enough information to make a confident decision as to which health insurance policy you need.

Understanding Health Insurance Coverage-Basic Health Insurance Policy Terms As you begin to compare each health insurance policy and the level of coverage provided make sure you understand clearly what the policy covers and what’s not covered. You’ll also want to know levels of coverage. Listed below are a few commonly used terms to describe health insurance policy benefits. As you read these terms, understand this is a very generalized definitions, specifics of each term may vary from policy to policy.

Co-Payment – Often stated as “co-pay”, co-payment is the amount you must pay for each service. In managed care plans, you do not need to know the full fee charged by a provider, as you will pay the same “co-pay” regardless of the fee. Co-Insurance – a policy provision, by which the insured person and the insurer share the covered losses under a policy in a specified ratio, i.e., 20 percent by the insured, and 80 percent by the insurer. Comprehensive Major Medical Insurance – A policy designed to give the protection offered by both a basic and a major medical health insurance policy. Normally have a low deductible amount, a coinsurance feature, and high maximum benefits. Deductible- the amount you as the policyholder must pay before benefits begins to cover costs. Generally the higher the deductible, the lower the monthly premium will be.

Endorsement- sometimes called a rider, an endorsement is written to change the terms of a health insurance policy. This can occur with pre-existing conditions (see definition below)

Major Medical Insurance -Health insurance to finance the expense of major illness and injury. Characterized by large benefit maximums ranging up to $250,000 or no limit, the insurance, above an initial deductible, reimburses the major part of all charges for hospital, doctor, private nurses, medical appliances, prescribed out-of-hospital treatment, drugs, and medicines. The insured person as coinsurer pays the remainder

Out-of-Pocket Cost – The out of pocket cost is the total of all costs you must pay for service. This includes the annual deductible, the co-pay amount, and any fees in excess of the approved maximum charges for a service.

Remember, as you’re reviewing health insurance policies, don’t hesitate to ask your insurance agent to explain or clarify anything you don’t understand. Comparing Health Insurance Policies Higher deductible, lower monthly premium, lower deductible, higher monthly premium, …. 80/20 coverage, 70/30 coverage for major medical, various drug costs, various co-pay amounts for primary physicians, specialists, laboratory services coverage, and the list goes on. There are many areas of a health insurance policy that can vary, from plan to plan. Some even have different levels from which to choose. It can be confusing, and difficult to make a decision, but as stated earlier, comparing your current health condition and your current finances to the policies offered, you’ll be able to make a much better decision.

For example if you’re planning to have a child, you’ll want to carefully investigate the pregnancy coverage for each policy you’re considering. If you take prescribed medication on a regular basis, you’ll want to make sure the terms of drug coverage meets your needs. Each health insurance policy has basic sections defining levels of coverage in each area. The most common are: physical exams, health screenings, specialists’ care, hospitalization, emergency care, prescription drugs, dental, vision care, mental health care, and drug and alcohol abuse services, family planning, and chiropractic and alternative care coverage.

By carefully reviewing the health insurance policy to determine what’s covered, and the level of coverage in each of the above areas, you’ll be able to confidently make a choice based upon coverage and costs.

Maintaining Continuous Coverage If you lose your job, you may be able to maintain your health insurance policy by COBRA (consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This coverage normally lasts 18 months. Your employer can provide you more information on COBRA.

Maintaining adequate Michigan health insurance coverage can be a big concern for the self-employed. BlueCross BlueShield must sell “group -of-one” policies to sole proprietors. Other companies can offer small group coverage to individuals, but are not required to and prices may be higher.

Obtaining a Health insurance policy may seem stressful. By applying the suggestions above and getting quotes on more than one policy, you’ll be able to obtain adequate health insurance that’s priced within your budget without stress or worry.

Copyright 2006 Lisa Ip

The Benefits of Having Centralized and Linked Medical Care

The field of medicine and way medicine is practiced has changed significantly in the recent years. Previously the only option available to patients was to see their primary care doctor and then get referrals. Then the patient would go to another doctor, a specialist, and then from that point be referred to either other doctors or treatment providers and then back to their primary care doctor. This way of medical practice can be stressful for the patient who ends up doing a significant amount of coordination between the various medical providers they are getting treated by. The new way of medical care and practice is coordinated and centralized. Medical providers of general practice and specialties are now combined in one location and with one provider.

This type of healthcare treatment is commonly referred to as community healthcare. Momence Illinois healthcare is an example of a community healthcare provider. Patients being treated at a community healthcare center can expect to have treatment by one doctor that is related to and in conjunction with other medical providers. If the patient needs to go to a specialist then the patient will find it easy to get their care coordinated between all the doctors at a community healthcare center.

This type of care at Peotone healthcare is convenient for patients. Treatment at a community healthcare center also means that the patients records are all contained in the same location and accessible by all the different treatment provides the patients sees so long as they are all a part of the community healthcare system. This can be better for the patient who doesn’t have to repeat their medical history time and time again with every doctor they see.

Community healthcare centers like Peotone Illinois healthcare also are typically coordinated with a hospital. This means that the patients have access to all the doctors and specialist at the hospital and the community healthcare center. The patient can easily walk into the hospital and feel comfortable knowing these doctors practice similarly to the community healthcare doctors. It is always stressful to go to the hospital but stress can be reduced when you know the doctors at the hospital already have your prior records and can easily get a hold of your other medical doctors.

Where Americans Go Abroad For Medical Care

So you want to go abroad for medical care. At the very least, you’re considering it. But how do you know where you should go? What country’s hospital system will give the best treatment? How much is distance a factor? What else should you be aware of? This article will answer your questions, allowing you to pursue the idea of traveling abroad for medical care with confidence.

First, we’ll look at the range of countries now offering medical care to foreigners. The number grows every day, but we’ll look at the definite standouts. Next, we’ll compare them from the viewpoint of a U.S. traveler. We will examine the different countries from the perspective of a medical traveler looking to undergo a minor procedure, and also from the perspective of someone looking for an alternative to major surgery.

Medical Procedures: Mexico, India, and Beyond

Whenever medical travel is mentioned in conversation, the two countries that usually come to mind are Mexico and India. And with good reason: these two are the leaders overall, with the best facilities and staff as a whole. However, some good facilities are beginning to emerge in other countries around the world, but the overall quality still lags behind the Mexican and Indian advancements.

Depending on the procedure, there may be individual hospitals in certain countries that offer the service you are looking for. But finding the perfect hospital in one of the lesser-known medical travel countries can be problematic; there are fewer credible sources who can testify to the hospital’s skill, and the major travel companies that help plan trips there are often new as well, making their recommendations unreliable.

Mexico Medical Travel vs. India Medical Vacation

On the surface, the quality of care available at these facilities may seem equal. Both countries show similar growth patterns in the medical field, and both have become recognized leaders in the health travel industry. However, there are in fact several differences between the two, all of them vital to determining the right place to have your treatment.

Comparison 1: Variety

Both countries offer a good number of different treatments at a range of hospitals. However, medical procedures in Mexico are often offered at a larger number of hospitals than in India, and are frequently available at a better overall standard than they are in India. Hospital networks in Mexico make Mexico medical travel easy, allowing patients to pick from a number of different hospitals that all offer the same quality of treatment. In a country as large as Mexico, the ability to fly into a number of different cities and get the same medical procedures in Mexico is an advantage.

Comparison 2: Quality

Here again the two are close. India and Mexico both have good doctors available to patients. If you choose the correct agency to work with, you will be able to get a valuable experience with Mexico medical travel or India medical travel. However, travelers tend to report more satisfaction with medical procedures in Mexico. Generally speaking, Mexico medical travel provides doctors who can be more patient-conscious and provide a better atmosphere for the American medical traveler.

Comparison 3: Location

Mexico is the hands-down winner in this category. India is literally an ocean away; medical procedures in Mexico are closer than some domestic destinations. Mexico medical travel offers an unmatched level of travel convenience, which can make all the difference for some travelers. Often, a patient is concerned about missing too much work due to recovery from a surgery. With a long flight like the return from India, there can be a strong concern about blood clots depending on the nature of the surgery. But with flights back after medical procedures in Mexico, the doctors are able to easily manage the risk, potentially getting travelers home days earlier and thus back to work days earlier. Mexico medical travel definitely has the advantage here.

Is Mexico Medical Travel Right for You?

In the end, the right place for you to receive treatment will be the place that makes you feel most comfortable. Look to the recommendations of friends you know and trust, and also find a good medical travel company whose work you trust. Word of mouth is invaluable for learning about medical procedures in Mexico, India, and throughout the world – there is no better way to understand where you’re going than to speak with someone who has been there. You should retain a good medical travel company whether you have an experienced friend or not, but if you don’t know anyone personally who has benefitted from health travel, your trip assistant will be even more vital. With the right information, you will get the full benefit of going abroad for healthcare.