Along with finding the right school, getting medical insurance in Hong Kong belongs on the top of your list of priorities.
As a savvy person, you probably think that going on a hunt for insurance yourself is the most effective option, but using an insurance broker will save you time and a whole lot of hassle.
After many different experiences looking for ways to get access to reliable information about health insurance, we were introduced to Charings – an independent insuranace broker that works with Hong Kong residents and foreigners to find the Hong Kong medical insurance they need.
Got questions about getting medical insurance cover in the city? We’re going to give you the full lowdown on:
- The local healthcare in Hong Kong
- Your private healthcare insurance options
- How to find affordable medical insurance
- Why healthcare cover is so important
I cannot wait to share this sponsored post with you! When my own personal insurance broker Litai Wai asked me to team up and share our combined knowledge on medical insurance with you, I was excited because I knew that it could help people.
Got some tips or personal experiences you’d like to share on medical insurance in Hong Kong? Please leave them in the comments below.
Does Hong Kong have free public healthcare?
Hong Kong has a well-established public healthcare system, ranked the most efficient globally by Bloomberg before the COVID-19 pandemic, and still the second-best across the globe in 2020.
As long as you have a valid Hong Kong ID card, you’re eligible for the heavily subsidized rates at public hospitals. Anyone with permission to stay over 6 months will have an HKID.
Good as the public health system is, hospitals are always busy. This means there’ll be long waits involved, and if you’re triaged as non-urgent, you could face many weeks (or potentially even months) waiting to be seen or get treatment.
The very cheap access to public hospitals in Hong Kong can easily be topped up with local or global health insurance for you and your family.
What is private health insurance, and why do I need it?
Wherever you’ve lived before Hong Kong, odds are the country had a mix of public and private healthcare systems.
It’s the same in Hong Kong, with 43 government-run hospitals and a range of clinics supporting their work. There are 13 hospitals and hundreds of clinics in the private sector, all of which are registered and regulated by the Hong Kong Department of Health.
To access the private hospitals, you can just walk in and pay upfront for everything you need, but if you’ve got any experience with hospital bills in Hong Kong you’ll know they’re more than a little pricey.
Private health insurance can help to cover all or some of your hospital bills, follow-up procedures, and outpatient appointments. Not sure if you need medical insurance? Let’s look at the pros and cons of private health insurance.
Pros of having private health insurance in Hong Kong
- Waiting times are shorter for private hospitals and clinics
- You’ll likely be covered for a private room rather than be in a wardroom for overnight stays
- You’re not taking up space in the public healthcare system that others may need
Cons of having private health insurance in Hong Kong
- You have to pay monthly or annual premiums to maintain your coverage
- Claims may require more paperwork than if you access a public hospital
Where can I find affordable health insurance?
With the myriad health insurance providers all offering varied coverage depending on your circumstances, shopping around gets stressful.
The time and headaches you save yourself by using an insurance broker are well worth it. You don’t pay them upfront fees; rather, your broker is paid by the company you ultimately take the policy with.
To get a good range of policy options for local and global medical insurance in Hong Kong, Charings is our broker of choice.
They have access to some of the top names in expat health insurance, such as Cigna and BUPA in Hong Kong, and have a personable and friendly service.
Want to find out more? Contact Litai from Charings – we’ve only ever experienced the best quality service from Litai.
When do I need health insurance?
Health and medical insurance can come in handy in lots of different circumstances. In Hong Kong, if you want to get seen faster than in the public system, insurance will get you seen.
Life is full of unexpected moments – think about the last time you needed to see a doctor? Common reasons you or your family might need medical treatment include:
- An accident in the home like a kitchen burn or a bathroom fall
- Common surgeries for conditions like appendicitis
- Childhood illnesses like chickenpox, chest infections, or ear infections
- New complicated health issues such as organ problems or cancer
These things can get expensive quickly, with medicines and nights in hospital racking up bills that can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more!).
Types of Hong Kong health insurance
Through Charings, you can access a range of different Hong Kong medical insurance policies. They work with policies specifically for Hong Kong citizens and residents and policies that cover expats and Hong Kongers worldwide.
Along with global health insurance policies, you can discuss policies that are part of the new Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) as long as you are a Hong Kong resident. This insurance provides basic coverage that is also tax-deductible.
Employer vs. private health insurance
Whilst the policy that your employer offers may be decent and may cover lots of things you’ll need, there are still reasons to investigate private health insurance.
Here are some possible reasons for considering a full insurance package in Hong Kong:
- Getting your partner and kids on the same level of cover as yourself
- Getting insurance coverage on overseas trips
- Being able to transfer medical insurance to a new country can be important
- Getting the highest level of cover possible can be essential
- There’s a chance that a change of jobs would create problems with ongoing treatment
With all of these thoughts bouncing around, it becomes clear that employer insurance is great, but it may not have everything.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular health and medical insurance in Hong Kong. You can choose from others – chat with Charings about your options if you have specific requirements.
Global health insurance – Private international medical insurance
Policies that cover expats and their families in Hong Kong and further afield are known as private international medical insurance, or PIMI.
These policies are extensive and generally cover higher medical bills than policies designed for Hong Kongers. Note that these global PIMI policies aren’t classed as VHIS and thus are not tax-deductible.
April International – MyHealth Extensive Plan
- Global coverage except for the USA – can transfer to other countries if you move on from Hong Kong.
- Full cover for a range of emergency medical expenses
- Congenital issues are covered up to US$100,000 over the life of the policy
- A generous annual cap of US$2.5 million
What you should know:
- You’re capped at US$100,000 in the first 30 days for USA emergency medical
April international/ GlobalHealth – MyHealth Essential Plan
- You’re fully covered for hospital admissions, ambulances, and all your diagnostic tests.
- The cover is global, excluding the USA, so you can take your cover with you when you leave.
- Up to US$50k is covered for organ transplants or kidney dialysis
- The payouts each year are capped at US$1.5 million
What you should know:
- Pregnancy complications and congenital issues aren’t covered at all in the policy.
Cigna Health Insurance – Sigma Elite
- Full cover for private rooms, all hospital fees, and testing is included
- Emergency treatment within the USA is covered
- Coverage has a cap of HK$23.8 million, which is roughly US$3 million
- All coverage is in HKD, so you’re not having to consider exchange rates when looking at your maximum payouts
What you should know:
- The cover is limited to Asia, rather than global
Want to find out more? Contact Litai from Charings – when we’ve asked for a quote, Litai responded very quickly.
Medical insurance for Hong Kong
This type of insurance is specifically for Hong Kong residents and is generally cheaper than international health insurance. Some local medical insurance policies qualify as VHIS; check with Charings and ask them what this can mean for you.
These policies aren’t transferable outside of the territory, so they are usually better suited to people who are permanently settled here.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular medical insurance policies in Hong Kong.
Bupa Hong Kong – My Basic Plan
- A simple plan that should work for basic medical needs and surgery
- Inpatient and outpatient needs are covered to reasonable limits
- Up to six months of inpatient fees are covered, with some maximums
- Eligible for tax deductions through VHIS
What you should know:
- The limits and caps for charges – they’re pretty generous but can still mount up.
Bupa health insurance – MyFlexi Plan
- Coverage for inpatient fees extends to up to nine months
- Enhanced benefits include private nursing, having someone stay with you in hospital, and emergency outpatients
- Up to 20 acupuncture appointments a year are included
- It falls under VHIS, so it will be eligible for a tax deduction
What you should know:
- The limits to coverage in terms of price and timeframes, you’ll need to check your total costs during and treatments.
Cigna Global Health Insurance – Semi-Private
- A generous annual limit of $30 million
- Full coverage for a range of needs, including inpatients, surgery, and diagnostic testing
- Family can stay with children under 18 in hospital will full cover
- Visits to the emergency room are included in the cover
What you should know:
- Hospital stays are covered for semi-private rooms only
Want to find out more? Contact Litai from Charings – this is the independent insurance broker we personally use.
What type of health insurance is best for me?
Every person and every family is different, so the best coverage – international health insurance or a local Hong Kong policy – will be down to your circumstances.
Even if you’ve had expat health insurance before, you still need to take stock of your current situation. Consider things like:
- Do you plan on settling in Hong Kong long-term, or do you want transferable insurance?
- Are you happy to pay for things like optical and dental expenses?
- Will you be expanding your family during your time in Hong Kong?
- Can you afford a deductible or co-pay?
This is the type of information that can help guide your conversation with an insurance broker.
On their part, they won’t give you advice about which policy is best; rather, they’ll give you all the facts and information about your options so you can make an informed choice.
Why buy medical insurance from Charings?
International health insurance can be a tricky market to understand. There can be lots of caveats in policies and wording that could be open to interpretation.
Using Charings as your insurance broker will get you a personalized quote and a real human being to ask questions of.
Communication is important when you’re spending big money on a policy that your life could one day depend on. We’ve found Charings to be really easy to chat with – did you know that you can get an insurance quote through WhatsApp?
Medical Insurance in Hong Kong FAQs
Insurance doesn’t have to be complicated. The government does a good job keeping things in line, both in terms of hospital standards – some of the best in the world – and making sure policies are fit for purpose.
You probably still have some questions, though, so here are the ones we get a lot.
Is healthcare in Hong Kong free?
Healthcare is only free in Hong Kong for Hong Kong citizens that receive social security. Everyone else who is a resident, meaning if you’ve got a Hong Kong ID card, has the right to access heavily subsidized public healthcare.
I have a chronic condition; what types of health insurance are best for me?
You’ll already be more than aware that coverage for pre-existing medical problems is rare. Chronic conditions are generally not covered because of their high, long-term costs to insurers. You may still be able to find coverage for emergencies or medical issues unrelated to your chronic condition and consider using public hospitals for things you’re not covered for. Chat with Charings to see what your options are in your particular circumstances.
How much is health insurance in Hong Kong?
The price of health insurance in Hong Kong will depend on a lot of factors. You’ll already know that insurance companies will factor in details such as:
– Your age
– Whether you smoke or drink
– Pre-existing medical conditions
– The size of your family
– Which can all make a difference to the cost of health insurance.
For the best answer to this question, you can get a free, no-obligation quote from Charings that will consider all the vital details.
Getting your new life in Hong Kong set up means taking care of a million and one things.
We’ve extolled the virtues of bringing in experts such as virtual personal assistants to help you – your time is usually worth more than it would cost you to do things!
Bringing in Charings to present you with the best medical insurance options to choose from will make your life easier, and there’s no extra cost – they’re paid by the insurance company directly.