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New medical technology and your China health insurance

There are many people out there in the world that would describe China as a “developing” country. To be sure, China is developing in that it continues to see strong growth in the post-global financial crisis era. Chinese industries and commercial businesses continue to lead the way in global production, and the local population has seen a strong increase in their quality of life and overall income over the past decades.

However, the term ‘developing’ tends to discount China as a country that is not yet on the level of those that would be deemed ‘developed’. While it may be true that there are some metrics where China is not among the top countries globally where development is concerned, there are still a number of areas where China is as developed as any other. Increasingly, one of the areas where this is true is in medicine.

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Leveraging its internal expertise, as well as closer ties with foreign investors, doctors, and scientists, China is not only a place where new medical technology from abroad can be found, but also a country that is innovating all on it’s own. Here, Pacific Prime China highlights the hottest new medical technology found in the country, and discusses how they may interact with your China health insurance.

New medical technology in China

There is no shortage of potential new medical technologies coming to China. Some of these are lofty, futuristic, nigh-theoretical concepts that may or may not come to fruition within even the next decade, but a number of them are actually being introduced to hospitals now – meaning that they are in use for those that have access to them. So what are some recent developments worth mentioning? Let’s have a look:

AI doctors

On June 30th, 2018, Xinhua reported that a new medical artificial intelligence (AI) had bested elite human doctors in a competition pitting the two groups against each other to prove who could better diagnose patients. Known as BioMind, the AI was able to defeat the doctors at both predicting hematoma expansion and diagnosing brain tumors at a exhibition in Beijing.

While the doctors’ 66% accuracy rating was considered better than the average doctor, the AI was able to return an accuracy rating of 87%. Nevertheless, this was not an indictment of the doctors’ performance, so much as a show of the kind of increase diagnosis accuracy that people in China and across the world can anticipate going forward.

Telemedicine

Foreign to many, and yet becoming increasingly common, telemedicine is a service that allows people to communicate with their doctors over a video call or other similar platform. Without having to leave the comfort of their home, residents in China are now being afforded the ability to have in-depth doctoral consultations over long distances; even if their doctors are on the other side of the world!

This has been an especially important for patients residing in rural China, where the training of available doctors can sometimes be lacking – especially where certain types of specialists are concerned. Telemedicine is also a boon to senior citizens and others who may have limited mobility, but can also be a great advantage to anyone who just doesn’t have the time in their day to travel to a hospital and wait to be seen.

Precision medicine

Precision medicine is an emerging market where medical care is prescribed based upon the very specific details of the individual patient. You may wonder how this differs from other medical care, until you realize that it even takes a person’s genetics and associated health risks into account, and can even lead to customized pharmaceuticals being created just for them.

China is actually among the pioneering countries in this field. Pharmaceutical companies in China have grown to rival those of even the United States, and the amount of money that these companies are putting into new offerings like those provide by precision medicine shows how serious they are about it. The precision medicine pharmaceutical sector in China is already worth over USD 2 billion, and is expected to grow at a rate of 20% each year through 2022.

Does medical insurance cover new tech?

The above all sound like really cool new technologies that we would be happy to have save our lives someday, right? Well, let’s not lose sight of the fact that receiving the most cutting edge medical care is likely going to come with a very large price tag. This is because public, universal healthcare systems like China’s do not tend to offer or use the newest equipment, treatments, and procedures; at least, not until they have been tried, normalized, and subsequently the price of them has fallen dramatically.

Knowing this, we can easily assume that the places that most people will need to turn to for treatment via the newest medical technologies are going to be the country’s private hospitals. Here, foreign trained doctors and other medical staff will get the training needed to use new technologies, and medical facilities will actually be able to afford to purchase them.

Any heavy price that a hospital will pay for a new technology will be passed onto the patient, of course; so as a potential patient you will want to make sure that you are well set up to address such costs. This is why possessing a private health insurance policy in China is so important. Even if you have it, though, will you be taken care of?

This can be a tough question to answer. To be clear, insurance coverage for new medical technology can be spotty at best, for some pretty simple reasons. First, it’s no secret that insurance companies are primarily concerned with profitability; and new technologies and profits can be at odds with each other in the world of medicine. The high expense of new technology combined with the risk that often comes along with it does not make for the type of expense that insurers are comfortable paying for.

What’s more, oftentimes insurance documentation simply does not include a particular type of new treatment or procedure simply because it has not existed before, and the insurer has simply not had the time or impetus to consider it. Demand means a lot when it comes to the design of insurance policies, and until enough people say they want to be covered for a new medical technology, insurers simply won’t include it in their health insurance policies.

Get covered with Pacific Prime China

Did the new medical technology above pique your interest? If so, keep in mind that trailblazing new announcements about new medical innovations are happening all the time, so there’s even more to be excited for that we don’t even know about yet!

That being said, ensuring that you are able to access such great treatments may not be possible if you are not partnering with the right insurance provider. After all, what good is your health insurance if the only treatment capable of addressing your needs isn’t covered because your insurer doesn’t look far enough forward?

This may lead some to question how you can find the right insurance provider among all of the different ones filling the China health insurance landscape. Fortunately, anyone in China can turn to Pacific Prime China for guidance on finding the ideal health insurance plan. If there is coverage for a new type of medical treatment out there, we’ll find it for you; thereby saving you the time and effort it takes to sort through all the plans available on the market.

Contact us today to get a health insurance plan that will truly provide you with peace of mind!

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