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What should new arrivals know about Hong Kong healthcare?

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By Pacific Prime Hong Kong

Hong Kong is among the top choices for expatriates looking to experience a mix of Eastern and Western cultures along with vibrant city life. While it’s indeed an exciting and potentially life-changing opportunity, settling in Hong Kong can be an overwhelming experience, as it is with moving to any other new country. You will have to learn about how virtually everything works here, from finding an apartment to starting a new job, exploring new surroundings, and building a new social circle.

As such, it is best that you do your homework well in advance before you and land in unfamiliar territory. To help you better prepare for your move to Hong Kong, Pacific Prime Hong Kong will tell all about the SAR’s healthcare costs and main medical insurance options, which, though they may be easy to forget, are an extremely important subject.

Hong Kong healthcare and costs
While local citizens have access to subsidized medical care at public hospitals, the majority of newcomers are ineligible for subsidized healthcare, meaning you’ll have to foot the full bill by yourself. And even after you’ve stayed for seven years and become a permanent resident, you will find that there is often a long wait for appointments available through the public healthcare system.

In addition, Hong Kong–after the United States–ranks as the second most expensive location for private healthcare, according to Pacific Prime’s Cost of International Health Insurance report. Consequently, many expats choose to have comprehensive health insurance plans to cover the potentially exorbitant fees charged at private facilities, where they can receive a more individualized quality of care, and enjoy a more private and serene environment.

Though some expats in Hong Kong are entitled to a certain level of medical insurance from their employer, such plans can sometimes only offer basic coverage and fail to address the true healthcare needs of most employees. For example, it is not uncommon for certain group health insurance plans to have more limited provider networks and lower benefit limits compared to private health insurance plans secured by individuals.

If you find that the coverage offered by your employer-provided plan is lacking, here are the key types of health insurance policies available to expats in Hong Kong:

Local health insurance
Most suitable for those who will stay in town for most of the time, local health insurance plans are customizable to meet your specific needs and budget. You can sign-up for the most basic inpatient coverage, or opt to include additional benefits such as outpatient coverage, dental insurance, and maternity insurance by paying a higher premium. Some local plans may even cover your pre-existing conditions, but you will likely need to agree to a waiting period or pay an extra premium.

One of the largest drawbacks when it comes to securing local plans is that they only offer coverage in Hong Kong, as well as a limited group of doctors and medical facilities to choose from.

International health insurance
Also known as international private medical insurance (IPMI), international plans are considered the best option for those who travel frequently – whether it’s for vacation, work, or visiting their home country. This type of plan usually offers a more comprehensive level of benefits than local plans.

Policyholders with international health insurance coverage are granted access to healthcare in virtually any hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office around the globe. In other words, you won’t have to worry about provider networks while abroad.

Of course, international health insurance will cost more than local health insurance. This is mostly because international plans have a much larger geographical scope.

Top-up health insurance
If your employer has offered you company-sponsored group health insurance, but you find that the level of coverage is somewhat lacking, top-up health insurance may be the perfect solution.

Designed to complement an existing health plan, top-up health insurance allows employees to include additional benefits or raise maximum benefit levels on areas where the policyholders feel the coverage is insufficient.

Let Pacific Prime’s professionals help you make more educated insurance decisions
The world of health insurance is filled to the brim with obscure jargon and abstract terms and conditions. It is, therefore, understandably difficult to navigate the hundreds and thousands of options all by yourself, especially when you have just arrived in Hong Kong and are busy settling into the city. Luckily, the professional advisors at Pacific Prime Hong Kong are here to help.

With over 19 years in business and nine offices around the world, we are an established insurance brokerage with experience in sourcing the best plans that match our international clients’ needs and budget. With the objective of simplifying insurance, we regularly release blogs, guides and reports to educate our readers on different facets of the insurance sector. For instance, our Private vs Public healthcare in Hong Kong guide is another useful read for new arrivals in town.

Contact us today for impartial insurance advice, an obligation-free quote, and a plan comparison.

About Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Since it was first established in 2000, Pacific Prime Hong Kong has grown from its humble beginnings to becoming one of Asia’s leading brokers of corporate and family health insurance products. As an independent broker, you can rest assured that your family is at the center of our decision making – not the profit of the insurers. For a free quote, or some impartial advice, contact Pacific Prime Hong Kong’s advisors today!


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