Medical emergencies are expensive and with serious illnesses or injuries, timely treatment can mean the difference between life and death. While you might be tempted to forgo insurance and pay as you go, it is essential that everyone have some level of health insurance, sometimes referred to as medical insurance, in place so you can focus on recovery without dipping into your retirement savings or taking on a crippling amount of medical debt.
But if you’ve begun to do your research on the topic, you might have found that there’s a lot of information out there and it can be quite confusing. Hopefully this article will answer some common questions and give you the information you need to reach a decision.
What is Health Insurance?
Health insurance policies cover expenses for preventive care of medical bills you might incur as a result of some sickness or accident. Health insurance policies will generally pay for things like hospitalisation, doctors’ visits, specialist consultations, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, alternative therapies, dental treatments, preventative eye care, prescription eyewear, and even maternity-related medical expenses.
Most health insurance policies work on a co-pay system where the insurance company will pay for a certain percentage of eligible healthcare expenses (usually ranging from 60-100%) with some maximum limit.
Do I need Health Insurance?
While anyone who holds a valid Hong Kong ID card can get free treatment with small co-payments through the public healthcare system in Hong Kong, there are drawbacks to relying on the public system. Often times the wait times for treatment though the public system can be long and quality of treatment could be lower than if you had paid and gone to a private hospital. This is especially important for acute illnesses like cancer or other heart conditions.
If these are concerns for you and you can afford the monthly premiums, you should consider purchasing a health insurance policy so you can access a higher level of treatment without needed to dig into your retirement savings or take on a mountain of debt.
While policy terms vary from insurer to insurer, all of our policies are international policies that can provide worldwide coverage so you’re protected even while travelling.
How much is it going to cost?
Health insurance companies set premiums based on a statistical analysis of risk. That means they will ask you some medical questions or submit you to a medical exam as part of your health insurance application.
In general, they will look at your age, body mass index (BMI), occupation, medical history, and ask questions about general lifestyle factors such as tobacco use or drinking habits. The younger and healthier you are, the cheaper your insurance premiums will be.
Another factor insurance companies consider is ‘medical inflation’. Medical science is advancing every day and treatments are getting better but also more expensive. This means that your insurance will also likely get more and more expensive each renewal period.
What if I have an existing medical condition?
Pre-existing medical conditions are not automatically covered by most health insurance policies, if they are serious enough, it can even exclude you from getting coverage altogether. It really depends on what that condition is.
If the condition is not serious or it is well managed (i.e. diabetes or asthma), it is possible to get some coverage; although they might charge a slightly higher premium depending on the condition. Having “unhealthy” habits like smoking or excessive alcohol consumption can also increase your premiums.
If you’re still confused or would like to learn more about which option is right for your specific situation, contact us here.