Compare Health Insurance In Hong Kong - 7 Considerations17 Feb, 2022
Comparing medical insurance can be complicated. It’s easy to get confused by the jargon and overwhelmed by all the options. Most applicants have a hard time discerning policies that provide the greatest benefits for their coverage needs.
When comparing medical policies from different companies, the first step is to assess your needs.
Do you want coverage for yourself, your family, or your employees?
What kind of medical services are you seeking coverage for?
How much can you afford in terms of premiums?
What are your preferences in terms of co-pay, geographic coverage, and inclusion of pre-existing conditions?
The right plan will vary from one person to the other based on their precise needs. However, most applicants seem to gravitate to policies that provide wider coverage at the least possible cost. This page offers practical tips that native Hong Kong residents and ex-pats can use when comparing medical insurance policies.
Level of Coverage
This is one of the most important considerations when comparing medical plans from different companies. There is no one-size-fits-all product, so it is essential to find a product that offers services you will use, or at least think you may require. Most health insurance plans in Hong Kong fit within four different coverage levels: inpatient, outpatient, maternity, and dental. Inpatient insurance pays for care when you are admitted to a hospital. This will include expenses related to diagnostic tests, anesthetist fees, inpatient medication, organ transplants, and possibly even emergency rooms and general hospital expenses. Outpatient cover includes everything within inpatient along with outpatient services (where hospital admission is not required). The policy will pay for GP consultations, traditional therapies, and psychology care. Maternity plans cover most pregnancy-related costs but will need to be purchased in advance because there is a waiting period involved. Dental coverage is expensive when purchased as a standalone policy so it is best to combine it with your individual health coverage. Before you settle on any one policy, answer the question ‘does it provide coverage for services that I’ll actually use?’.
Access to Doctors and Specialists
Some medical insurance plans may limit you to an existing network of doctors, which may not be ideal in certain situations. Other plans will allow you to use almost any doctor or health care facility. Another important issue is access to specialist medical services. Does your insurance cover require you to have a referral before you can see a specialist? Read between the lines and see if there are any restrictions regarding who you can get care from. Most policyholders prefer health insurance that gives them the liberty to choose the healthcare facility that best suits their treatment needs.
Hong Kong Health Insurance Cost
Cost can be an important factor when evaluating and comparing health insurance plans. You’ll need to pay premiums (usually on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis) even if you haven’t used medical services during the specified period. Furthermore, you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket costs, which may include a deductible, when you get care. Think about all the different kinds of costs involved when shopping for health insurance and contemplate how they fit within your financial plan. Keep in mind that medical insurance is cheaper when purchased at a younger age. More so, foregoing certain options such as global coverage and selecting semi-private rooms can make your Hong Kong health insurance premiums cheaper. The goal is to find a health insurance plan that provides the coverage you need within or close to your budget.
In the confusion of selecting health care insurance, it may be easy to forget about waiting periods. Many VHIS certified plans (under the insurance authority) will have waiting period clauses regarding how pre-existing conditions are covered. Dental plans typically have a waiting period of about 6 months before you can be eligible for benefits. Maternity medical insurance will have a waiting period of at least 10 months through which you pay premiums before the policy can start providing benefits. When reviewing health insurance in Hong Kong, make sure you understand if there are any waiting periods attached, and how this may affect your ongoing care needs.
Take into account what additional services are covered before you make the final decision on what health insurance plan to purchase. Some medical insurance policies will include cover for mental health care and psychological services, drugs and alcohol rehabilitation, home health care, hospice, nursing home care, experimental treatments, chiropractic care, and alternative treatments. Go through the list of options and figure out whether the services catered for are in line with your medical needs.
Exclusions are an important consideration - albeit easily ignored - when comparing health insurance in Hong Kong. Policyholders who already have a pre-existing condition are able to access health coverage but insurers add an exclusion for that preexisting condition. Other exclusions that are common in medical insurance plans include dental, vision, or hearing issues, and sometimes even lifestyle-related diseases. You will want to review each policy’s exclusion list to find out what is not covered so that you do not have any surprises later on when you actually need to use the coverage.
Health Insurance Plan Renewability
Does the Hong Kong health insurance plan you are reviewing offers guaranteed renewability? This is an important question to answer when comparing private health insurance policies. Some plans will support renewability upon ‘mutual agreement’. This essentially means that the insurer has the right to refuse renewal of your policy due to factors such as expensive claims or pre-existing conditions that came up during your policy period. Most global health insurance plans in Hong Kong tend to be ‘lifetime renewable’ and are thus considered to be more of a long-term solution (particularly for ex-pats) than local private insurance.
How you compare health insurance plans can mean the difference between getting high-quality cover and attaining a health insurance plan that barely meets your needs. Start by analyzing your unique health care needs and request a few quotes from the top insurance providers in Hong Kong. See if you can pinpoint the ideal policy, putting into consideration factors such as benefits provided, exclusions, and your budget. This process can take time.
Fortunately, online health insurance comparison tools are available that make it all easier. You only need to provide some basic information such as your age, gender, type of coverage desired, and location of coverage, and you can receive a list of suits to suit your requirements. This way, you can compare multiple policies within minutes and find one that best addresses your needs.
Why health insurance is important
A private health insurance plan in Hong Kong ensures that you get timely and quality medical treatment when you need it. In case of unforeseen medical emergencies whose cost can spin out of control, a health insurance cover provides financial stability. You also get to keep your peace of mind knowing that all your financial needs relating to medication and access to treatment are taken care of. There are numerous health insurers operating out of Hong Kong, so you have no shortage of policies to choose from based on your health care needs.
At what age should I buy health insurance?
There is no perfect age for shopping health insurance. However, most experts recommend that you purchase cover as early as possible because premiums are lower and there is less chance of having pre-existing conditions that could be excluded by your insurer. Individuals who are as old as 85 will also benefit from medical coverage. While policies are more expensive at this age, it is possible to find the right balance between benefits and coverage by using an online medical insurance comparison service or seeking the assistance of an experienced health insurance professional in Hong Kong.
What is a waiting period in private health insurance?
A waiting period refers to a duration of time after purchasing a medical policy through which you cannot claim benefits from the insurance company. You’ll only be able to claim benefits once the stipulated waiting period expires. Waiting periods are common with dental and maternity health insurance plans. Individuals who have a pre-existing condition may also be subjected to a waiting period before health coverage is provided.
How do I compare health insurance in Hong Kong?
Comparing health insurance can be a hectic process. You need to contact multiple insurers to request quotes and wade through numerous policy terms and options before you can identify the right plan. Thankfully, online tools exist that make this process easier. These use modern financial technologies to evaluate policyholder details and compute estimated premium rates for different levels of coverage. You only need to provide some basic information and click a few buttons to compare health insurance policies from top insurers in Hong Kong.