Private Health Insurance for Individual And Families in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a bustling metropolis with a large selection of insurers offering a variety of health plans with very competitive pricing.
Why Private Health Insurance?
While the public healthcare insurance in Hong Kong is well developed and affordable, there are benefits to seeking private medical insurance: wait times are usually shorter and you’re more likely to find English-speaking medical professionals.
“The last thing you want to do when you’re seriously ill is to wait for treatment or even for a bed at a public hospital.”
Having an international health plan will pay for private treatment to make sure you get a better and quicker diagnosis and provide access to specialist or name brand drugs not available through a national plan. With an international plan, you can feel secure knowing that you and your family have quick access to the best treatment when you need it.
How much does Private Health Insurance cost?
Most international health insurance companies offer different tiers of plans so you can easily pick the one that’s most suited to your individual needs and budgets. As a general rule, we usually recommend that you purchase as much insurance as you can comfortably afford.
What coverage can I get?
Inpatient Health Insurance Coverage
This is the most basic level of cover and pays benefits to the insured if they are admitted to hospital. Basically, it pays for treatment received (including drugs taken) in a hospital setting.
This coverage will also pay for pre-operative and advanced diagnostics testing like MRI or CAT scans as well as post-hospital follow-up visits. Most importantly, this health insurance coverage will pay for the full treatment of cancer, medically necessary reconstructive surgery, and organ, bone marrow or tissue transplants. Know more...
Outpatient Private Health Insurance Coverage
This coverage option is 1 step up from the inpatient coverage and is the most popular one. It provides all the cover that’s included in the inpatient plan but adds on benefits for doctor or specialist visits, prescription drugs taken at home, diagnostics, and rehabilitation or physiotherapy. Necessary vaccinations and preventative health check-ups are covered as well and dental benefits (discussed later) can usually be added for a small fee.
The most important part of this is that conditions requiring long-term treatment are covered if the diagnosis occurred after the policy was purchased (but some pre-existing conditions may be covered).
Maternity Private Health Insurance Coverage
Maternity insurance includes all of the inpatient & outpatient benefits mentioned above plus some additional coverage specific to maternity plans:
- Maternity complications (i.e. emergency C-section)
- Routine maternity treatment & check-ups
- Cover is automatically extended to newborns
This plan basically covers costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth but it must be purchased prior to conception. There is also a waiting period that applies before benefits can be claimed. See our Maternity Private Health Insurance article for more information. Know more...
Alternative Therapy Health Insurance
Alternative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic treatment or Traditional Chinese Medicine are very popular in Hong Kong and Asia. In response to this demand for less invasive treatment alternatives, many insurers have included coverage for alternative therapies in their outpatient health insurance plans.
Some examples of insured alternative therapies include:
- Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Chiropractic Treatment
Dental Health Insurance Hong Kong
Dental treatment in Hong Kong can be very expensive and most companies offer 2 types of dental plans:
This level of coverage covers routine preventative services like annual check-ups and cleanings as well as simple things like fillings, root canals or emergency treatment.
This type of health insurance plan in Hong Kong offers coverage for pretty much any dental service including for periodontitis, gingivitis, bridgework, crowns, fillings and gold jackets. This coverage is useful if you’re anticipating some major dental work in the near future.
While dental health coverage is available on a standalone basis, it can be expensive. For that reason, most people get dental coverage by adding it to their Hong Kong health insurance plans.
Chronic and Pre-existing Condition Coverage
Chronic conditions that require long-term treatment can be very expensive but pre-existing conditions are excluded. In other words, most insurance companies won’t cover them unless the diagnosis was made after the policy was purchased so if this is something you’re concerned about, you should buy private medical health insurance in Hong Kong sooner rather than later.
Different medical plans also offer different levels of chronic illness coverage so it’s important that you speak with your Trusted Union advisor about this before deciding on which policy is right for you.
Which Private Health Insurance Plan is right for me?
With health insurance, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. The needs of you and your family, the level of care you require, what optional covers are available, age, finances and medical history all play a part in selecting the right insurer and the right plan.
There are a lot of nuances to consider and you shouldn’t commit to anything without knowing all the information. For complete product details and pricing, speak to your Trusted Union adviser. We can help you analyze your risks and give you all of the information you need to make an informed decision.
Individual and Family Health Insurance FAQ
What is health insurance and how does it work?
The first choice is an individual private health insurance plan - which only covers the applicant. The second option is a family health insurance plan which covers everyone in the household including dependents and children.
The most basic level of cover pays for benefits if the insured is admitted to hospital. Basically, it pays for treatment received (including drugs taken) in a hospital admission as an Inpatient or day-patient.
This higher coverage option provides all the cover that’s included in the inpatient plan but adds benefits for doctor or specialist visits, prescription drugs taken OTC, diagnostics, and rehabilitation or physiotherapy.
Who is eligible for private health insurance?
Nearly anyone is eligible to purchase health insurance but some insurance companies will impose certain restrictions. Most commonly, some insurance companies do not want to accept applicants over a certain age.
Many insurance companies will also require an application form where you disclose detailed medical information to help them evaluate your risk potential, insurability, and how much premium to charge you.
Another important caveat is that many insurance companies will have exclusions for uncontrolled pre-existing conditions. If you have a pre-existing condition that requires ongoing treatment and is worsening in the time leading up to the application, they will still insure you but may add an exclusion for that pre-existing condition.
That said, we specialize in hard-to-place applicants so if you don’t want to submit a detailed medical questionnaire, have “negative” lifestyle factors like smoking or a dangerous occupation, or have pre-existing conditions, we can help. Just contact a licensed Trusted Union health insurance insurance broker for help.
What is the benefit of health insurance?
The main benefit of buying health insurance in Hong Kong is to help pay for the high cost of private hospitals and private medical treatment.
While the public healthcare system in Hong Kong is very well developed and meets and sometimes exceeds global standards in many areas, there are downsides. The hospitals and rooms are often overcrowded, uncomfortable, has long wait times, and has possible language barriers for expats.
The private healthcare system is a great alternative that alleviates many of these issues but it is expensive. Purchasing health insurance means that the insurance company will help pay for many of these costs. That said, the exact level of coverage you get depends on the tier of plan you choose to purchase.
How much does private health insurance cost?
The short answer is: it’s hard to say as it depends on each individual applicant. But there are some factors that we know will influence your health insurance premiums.
The first and most important factor is your age. Insurance companies frequently use age brackets to set prices. The older you are, the more expensive your health insurance will be.
The second most important factor is the results of your medical questionnaire and medical history. If you have “negative” lifestyle factors like a smoking habit, excessive alcohol consumption, or a dangerous occupation, that would negatively affect your health insurance premiums.
Why should I take health insurance?
Hong Kong has a very well-established and well-regarded public medical system. This system is based on the UK’s NHS and offers free or highly subsidized healthcare courtesy of the Hong Kong government. That said, there are downsides. The public healthcare system is often overcrowded, not as comfortable, has long wait times, and could have language barriers that some ex-pat patients may not be able to overcome.
The private healthcare system on the other hand, is preferred by most ex-pats and the people who can afford it. They offer shorter wait times for potentially life-saving medical treatment, private rooms and luxury accommodations and a more multilingual medical team of doctors and nurses who are assigned to you throughout your treatment. The downside is that it can be very expensive.
You should consider purchasing either an individual health insurance policy or a family health insurance policy to help cover some of the expenses involved in using private hospitals in Hong Kong.
What age should I get private health insurance in Hong Kong?
There is no set age when you should get health insurance - it all depends on your unique situation. If you’re young and still considered a dependant, you might not need your own individual private health insurance policy if your parents have a family policy. And it’s never too late, even if you’re a senior citizen, we have access to seniors health insurance that accepts applicants as old as 85 years old.
That said, we do recommend people buy health insurance as early as they can. And this is for 2 reasons: lower premiums and less chance of pre-existing or chronic conditions being excluded.
The primary factor insurance companies use to assess your risk and the amount of premium you pay is your age. The younger you are when you first purchase insurance, the cheaper it will be.
Another reason to buy insurance as early as possible is the fear of developing a chronic condition appearing and being excluded by your policy. For example, if you develop a heart condition that requires ongoing treatment or medication prior to purchasing insurance, the insurer might consider that a pre-existing condition and won’t cover medical expenses related to that heart condition.
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