Health insurance in Hong Kong

health insurance
Updated 2023-01-28 18:53

Health insurance is an important consideration for expats living in Hong Kong, as the city's healthcare system can be expensive for those without coverage. In this article, we'll take a look at the options available for expats in Hong Kong and how to choose the right policy for your needs.

How to choose a health insurance policy in Hong Kong?

One of the first things to consider when choosing health insurance in Hong Kong is whether you want a local or international policy.

Local policies are typically cheaper, but they may not cover medical treatment outside Hong Kong. International policies, on the other hand, offer broader coverage and can be a good option for those who travel frequently or plan to return to their home country at some point.

Here are a few options for healthcare insurance providers:

Next, consider the type of coverage you need. There are three main types of health insurance policies in Hong Kong: basic, general, and comprehensive.

Basic policies typically cover hospitalization and emergency care, while general policies add coverage for outpatient treatment and preventive care. Comprehensive policies offer the most extensive coverage, including both inpatient and outpatient care as well as coverage for chronic conditions and alternative therapies.

It's also important to consider the deductible and copayments associated with your policy:

  • a deductible is an amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in
  • a copayment is an amount you pay for each visit to the doctor or hospital

Higher deductibles and copayments can result in lower premiums, but they may not be the best option if you expect to have frequent medical expenses.

When comparing health insurance policies in Hong Kong, be sure to consider the network of providers covered by the policy.

Some policies only cover treatment at certain hospitals or clinics, while others offer broader coverage. You may also want to consider the policy's coverage for pre-existing conditions, as some policies exclude coverage for specific conditions or require you to pay a higher premium.

It's also worth considering the policy's coverage for preventive care, such as annual check-ups and vaccinations. These services can help you stay healthy and catch potential health issues early on, potentially saving you money in the long run.

Finally, be sure to carefully review the policy's exclusions and limitations to understand what is and is not covered. This can help you avoid any unexpected costs down the line.

Health insurance costs in Hong Kong

There are several key factors that will affect the cost of your health insurance and premiums in Hong Kong.

Age. Premiums are directly related to your age. The older you are, the more expensive your healthcare coverage will be. As older healthcare policyholders are more likely to require medical help, they are generally required to pay more in premiums.

Pre-existing conditions. Some insurance providers exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, while others may charge an additional premium (called a loading) on top of the standard rate. These loadings can range from 10% to 150%.

Residency. Insurance rates are based on the cost of medical care in the area where you live. This is the reason why insurance rates are particularly high in Hong Kong, as it has the second most expensive private healthcare market in the world, unlike Thailand, where private healthcare costs are relatively low.

Insurance coverage area. Refers to the geographical region where an insurance policy's benefits are applicable. An example of this is a travel health insurance plan that can have a coverage area defined as "anywhere in the world", which means that the policyholder can receive medical treatment and be eligible for benefits as long as the policy conditions are met. The cost of health insurance can vary greatly depending on the width of the coverage area.

Based on the factors above, the cost of health insurance in Hong Kong may vary greatly. However, on average, you may expect to pay from HKD 3,000 to 30,000 – or higher for an individual health insurance plan. Note that some insurance plans come with a comprehensive discount plan for your dependent - make sure to check with your insurance provider about coverage options for your family members.

While insurance costs in Hong Kong may be high, it's still substantially better to have health insurance than to pay for medical services out of pocket. Most expats in Hong Kong prefer to turn to private hospitals for treatment – as these generally offer a more relaxing experience and shorter wait times. However, the out-of-pocket costs for treatments in private hospitals in Hong Kong are quite high. For instance, a standard visit to a private hospital can set you back around HKD$ 1,500.

Check if your employer offers health insurance

In Hong Kong, it is common for employers to offer health insurance to their employees, including expat workers. Health insurance is generally provided as part of an employee's overall benefits package and may be offered through a group insurance plan or as an individual policy.

The specific terms of health insurance coverage, including the type and level of coverage, will depend on the employer and the insurance policy that is chosen.

This is why it is essential that you carefully review the terms of any health insurance coverage that is offered by your employer. The medical benefits you get as part of your package can make a substantial difference to your overall quality of life in the city and help you feel secure and protected.

Make sure to check if dental is part of your insurance plan. Dental services (except for emergencies) are not available in Hong Kong's public healthcare.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.