Need expat info for Hong Kong?
The Private Healthcare Sector
In addition to public medical care, there is an established private healthcare system consisting of specialists and doctors in Hong Kong, as well as 11 private hospitals. While lots of expats prefer to use the private system for their healthcare needs, you do not have to necessarily opt for either the one or the other. For instance, some expat women having a baby in Hong Kong choose to see private doctors for prenatal care, but give birth at a public hospital.
Employer-Provided Health Insurance
The majority of expats who work in Hong Kong have employer-provided healthcare plans for themselves and their families as part of their remuneration package. Generally speaking, the Hong Kong government only issues visa for expatriates if their employers provide them with healthcare, in order to make sure that the person will not be a burden on the public healthcare system.
It is advisable to pay attention to the healthcare coverage during contract negotiations, as healthcare plans can vary tremendously with respect to the treatments they cover. Some plans include dental care and maternity benefits, others do not. Sometimes you may have to pay a deductible, or the insurance plan will only cover a certain percentage of your medical expenses. Other insurance plans will limit you to certain doctors. Paying attention to this beforehand can save you a lot of money later on.
Private Health Insurance
Hong Kong is among the countries with the highest medical costs in the world. If you do not want to use the public healthcare system and your employer does not cover your medical expenses, you certainly do not want to end up having to pay the fees for a private doctor or even hospital bills on your own. Furthermore, you might want to supplement your employer-provided insurance plan if it does not cover everything you find necessary.
There are innumerable offers for private health insurance in Hong Kong. You can usually choose between a local plan and an international private health insurance. A local health insurance will cover only expenses incurred in Hong Kong, and premiums are based on local medical costs. You might want to consider an international health insurance if you are not staying in Hong Kong for a longer period of time. International health insurance plans are transferable to different countries, and premiums are usually based on the international level of medical costs. If you are already covered by an international health insurance, find out if it is also valid in Hong Kong.
Choosing an Insurance Provider
The insurance sector in Hong Kong is very competitive. Therefore, it is well-worth investigating different offers to get the best deal for your personal insurance plan. Individual insurance for an adult around 30 years of age can cost you anywhere between HKD 2,000 and HKD 30,000, depending on the details of your personal insurance plan. Here are some important points to take into consideration when choosing the right health insurance package:
- Can you get coverage for your entire family? Are there family discounts? Can you choose different plans for each family member?
- Are there overall annual limits to the services and costs covered?
- Are co-payments required?
- Will you get credit for hospital treatments so that you do not have to pay the bill yourself first?
- What choice of hospital rooms do you have?
- Do you have a free choice of doctors, or are services limited to certain doctors and hospitals?
- Are extras such as dental care and maternity benefits covered? Is there a limit to the amount which is covered?
- Does the insurance plan include free regular check-ups and prevention measures?
- Is treatment with traditional Chinese medicine included?
- Is a previous health examination required? What about pre-existing conditions?
These are only some points where insurance plans tend to differ tremendously. You should keep them in mind when choosing a plan which best suits your personal needs. However, the list is far from exhaustive, and it is highly recommended to seek advice from an expert with detailed knowledge in this field on how to best protect your health and that of your loved ones. Make sure to negotiate payment methods in Hong Kong’s hospitals early on.
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