If you’re an expat moving to Hong Kong to live or work, you’ll likely be staying a while. As careful as you are, at some point during your stay, you’ll likely get sick or get injured. When it happens, you need to be prepared.

If you’ve been doing your research, you’re probably wondering about the healthcare system here, how it compares to your home country and whether you’ll need medical insurance or not. Hopefully this article will answer some common questions and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

The Healthcare System in Hong Kong

Luckily, Hong Kong has one of the most developed healthcare systems in the world. It’s so good in fact, that its residents have the 2nd highest life expectancy in the world; with an average life expectancy of 87.66 years for women and 81.7 years for men.
Hong Kong’s hospitals are mostly government-run and managed by the Hong Kong Health Authority. On an island about 1104 square kilometers in size, there are 176 hospitals and clinics.

At Hong Kong’s 164 public hospitals/clinics, care is high quality and costs vary depending on whether you’re an eligible person or not. For example, on a typical outpatient visit, an eligible person would have to make a co-payment of 45 HKD while a non-eligible person would pay 215 HKD.

To be considered an eligible person, you would need to hold a valid Hong Kong ID card, be a child under 11 years old with HK resident status, or be approved by the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority. All other people are considered non-eligible and will have to pay the full fees.

Many expats will opt for one of the 12 private hospitals to skip wait times, get higher quality treatment or seek out foreign-trained doctors who can speak their native language. Fees for private hospitals vary.

An important thing to note is that although Hong Kong has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, it’s also the 2nd most expensive. As a result, it is important to ensure that you have international health insurance coverage in place before your depart – especially if your spouse or children are coming with you.

Health Insurance Options for Expats in Hong Kong

If you’ve been sent to Hong Kong for work purposes, you likely won’t need to worry too much about heathcare as your employer will be providing you with a health plan. However, it is important to understand the terms of your healthcare coverage as there may be restrictions or limitations on which doctors are covered under the plan.

If you need to get coverage on your own, there are many options available for expats. Click here to learn more about your health insurance options as an expat in Hong Kong.