Macau Medical Insurance
Located just 60 kilometers west of Hong Kong lays the tiny Special Administrative Region of Macau. Once Portuguese ruled Macau was returned to China in 1999 under the Sino-Portuguese Pact, similar to the Sino-British arrangement for Hong Kong, which allowed Macau a high degree of autonomy except in matters of defense and foreign affairs for 50 years. Macau has a lot to offer an expatriate considering it only has a landmass of only 28.2 km2 and a population 567,000 people. Macau is one of the only cities that hold a combination of Vegas style casinos and Portuguese fortresses, churches and food within China’s coast. The recent growth in casinos was attributed to the fact that China and Hong Kong do not and can not have casinos, which has inadvertently caused Macau to become the “Las Vegas” of Asia.
Macau’s health care system is separated between public and private facilities. There are 3 hospitals, 2 private and 1 public. Macau’s health care is under a lot of strain due to improper spending and a lack of growth, especially within the public sector. Doctor-patient care has degraded over the last 10 years due to lack of funding and governmental support. The single public hospital is under constant strain and has trouble keeping up with the growing needs of the Macanese people, having an average occupancy rate of 87% in 2007. There is no medical board in Macau that regulates medical professionals, which has allowed reoccurring mistakes to happen within medical facilities. Also with no medical board it is extremely difficult to fully grasp the scope of the problem. As an expatriate you can receive care at any facility but an international health insurance plan is recommended with the cost of care in the private facilities having the potential to be very expensive.
The city does have over 477 private clinics and public health centers, making it easy to access basic medical care almost anywhere in Macau. The Conde Sao Januario General Hospital is the only public hospital, and has been having issues with bed shortages in the last few years. This hospital is also suffering from understaffing of both doctors and nurses, causing a quick patient turnover and long waiting lists for patients. Macau also has two private hospitals, Kiang Wu hospital and M.U.S.T hospital, which provide sufficient care for medical needs but can have higher medical costs. Out of three hospitals in Macau, none have earned an International Healthcare Accreditation. When faced with issues of serious injury or illness requiring complex medical procedures in Macau, you may need medical evacuation to the nearest centre of medical excellence in Hong Kong and an international medical insurance plan that incorporates medical evacuation in its coverage.
Just like a majority of developed countries in the world Macau’s main causes of morbidity and mortality are non-communicable diseases. Seasonal diseases are also present, such as Dengue fever, but overall the number of incidences of communicable diseases within the population is on the decline. Expats should still exercise preventative measures, such as wearing long sleeved shirts and pants, during months of high mosquito activity to prevent infection. HIV/AIDS is seen in Macau but prevalence remains low at about 0.1% of the population, although the number of infected are slowly increasing. There is still a presence of Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid, and Japanese encephalitis, and appropriate vaccinations should be obtained when travelling to Macau.
An expatriate in Macau should keep up to date with regional weather. Typhoons have been known to cause extensive damage to building and infrastructure, which can hamper the provision of essential services and have also been known to cause the loss of life. Even severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, making it very difficult to travel. Typhoons are usually seen in between the months of April and October. The rainy, monsoonseason actually lasts from May to October. In case of emergency the phone number 999 will connect you with ambulance, police, or fire services; for weather information dial 1311.