Even if it’s not your first child, finding out you or your partner is pregnant is a big deal. It’s a big life change that brings a lot of new things to deal with. While pregnancies are already a stressful experience, it can be even more so if you’re in a foreign country where you might not have all of the information you need. Hopefully this article will contain some useful advice on the cost of pregnancies in Hong Kong, healthcare options, maternity insurance options, etc. to ensure your 9 months goes as smoothly as possible.
Cost of Pregnancy in Hong Kong
Fact or Fiction? The cost of maternity in Hong Kong is among the highest in the world.
One of the things we hear the most from expecting parents (especially expats) is that they’ve heard that pregnancies are REALLY expensive in Hong Kong. This is both fact and fiction – it all depends on where you prefer to give birth and receive pre/post-natal treatments.
If you decide to have a child with a public hospital, care is extremely affordable. But if you choose to go to a private hospital, then yes, the medical fees are among the most expensive in the world.
Public vs. Private Hospitals for Maternity
Regardless of where you choose to give birth, you can rest assured that you’ll have access to very high quality medical care. In fact, the very first adult to adult liver transplant was carried out in Hong Kong in 1993.
Expats can get access to heavily subsidized treatment at any of Hong Kong’s 43 public hospitals with very low co-pay as long as they hold a valid Hong Kong ID card (HKID). There are even Maternal and Child Health Centres (MCHC) located all over Hong Kong that will provide you with free prenatal and postnatal care. Even if you don’t have a valid HKID card, you can still give birth and receive treatments at a public hospital but you’ll have to pay a slightly higher fee.
At a public hospital, eligible persons (HKID holders) can expect to pay just HK$435 for a 3 day-2 night stay including childbirth or C-section. For non-eligible persons pay significantly more at HK$39,000 with pre-booking or HK$90,000 with no booking.
Despite the low cost, there are downsides to going with public hospitals. While the medical treatment is definitely high quality, the experience is not nearly as comfortable. Stress is a huge factor in childbirth so many private hospitals have purpose-built maternity suits, private rooms, and a wider variety of food choices to satisfy your pregnancy cravings. For expats, another added benefit is that you’re more likely to find a doctor that speaks your native language at a private hospital.
For those that choose to go with private care during their pregnancy, the costs can be pretty high. Prenatal care can cost between HK$30,000 and HK$60,000 for routine care depending on the hospital and childbirth can range from HK$100,000 to HK$250,000 depending on complications.
Expats without and HKID or those that prefer to give birth in a more comfortable private hospital should get maternity insurance to help offset some of the costs.
Maternity Insurance Options
Luckily for you, there are a ton of maternity insurance options in Hong Kong to help you offset costs. Most maternity insurance plans in Hong Kong will cover:
1). Routine delivery in home or in the hospital of your choice
2). Delivery-related complications (i.e. medically necessary Caesarean Sections)
3). Pre and post-natal treatments
More comprehensive plans will even cover:
1). Fertility treatments
2). Newborn infant protection
3). Treatment for birth defects
Fact or Fiction? You can wait until you are pregnant before buying maternity insurance.
Unfortunately, this is fiction. Almost all maternity insurance plans come with a waiting period of 10-12 months before benefits are payable and the insurer will accept claims. This means you should be getting maternity insurance well in advance of pregnancy. We usually recommend clients buy maternity insurance while they’re trying.
Fact or Fiction? Maternity insurance plans are only valid in Hong Kong.
Fortunately, this is fiction. There are maternity plans out there that provide worldwide coverage. This means it’ll pay for maternity treatment taken anywhere in the world – including back home or in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Maternity Leave
Fact or Fiction? There is no such thing as parental or maternity leave in Hong Kong.
This is fiction – admittedly, parental rights are still lagging in Hong Kong but new mothers can get 10 weeks leave while fathers only get 3 days while still being paid 4/5ths of their average daily pay over the last 12 months. While that is what’s required by law, many progressive employers will extend that time.
There are certain conditions to be met before you’re eligible to receive the statutory maternity benefits. These include things like length of employment or the status of your employment contract. Most people start their maternity leave 4 weeks before the expected due date but some employers may allow you to start it as late as 2 weeks before your expected due date. The law also protects you against being fired during your leave except for cases involving serious improprieties or if you are on a probationary period at work.
So while this isn’t anywhere close to the 1 year you would get in the UK and 4 weeks less than the period recommended by the International Labour Organisation, you still have some statutory maternity leave in Hong Kong.
If you’re concerned about the cost of maternity in Hong Kong and want to learn about how to offset some of those costs, get in touch with a licensed Trusted Union maternity insurance advisor.