The prices of health care across the globe have steadily increased. In the US alone, health care spending rose by 9.7% between 2020 and 2021, which translates to $4.1 trillion or $12,530 per capita.
This is significantly higher than the 4.3% increase between 2019 and 2020. As a result of the rising costs of healthcare and the expenditure of the people in health care, it is crucial to ensure that one is cushioned against out-of-pocket expenses by getting health insurance.
The Health Care System in Hong Kong
The health care system in Hong Kong operates on two levels: the private and the public system. The public health care system provides services at little to no cost for Hong Kong citizens, residents, and non-residents. However, to obtain services from the public health care system, one must meet specific requirements.
The public health care system is only available to Hong Kong permanent residents, holders of a Hong Kong Identity Card, and children under 11 years that are Hong Kong residents. Thus, persons not eligible for free public health care would incur out-of-pocket expenses to get treatment from a specialist, in-patient or outpatient-only services, and services from a restructured hospital.
Notably, the free Hong Kong medical plan does not offer dental services. Thus, for you to get dental services, you would have to pay for them.
While the public health care system in Hong Kong is free, there are certain limitations you may have to factor in as you consider whether you want to rely on the system. First, the public hospitals serve patients on a first-come-first-served basis. Aside from emergencies, you would have to wait for a long time before you receive service. Additionally, the doctors at public hospitals are unlikely to give a personalized treatment approach as expected at private hospitals.
As a result of these drawbacks, many people, including expatriate workers, opt for the private system. Considering the high treatment costs in private hospitals, you may want to consider these five tips to get the most from health insurance in Hong Kong.
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1. Identify Your Family’s Needs Before Getting Insurance
Before going for a new insurance provider, you may need to identify the family’s needs. This helps to ensure that all your needs are covered under the insurance policy you are looking for. For instance, if you need an insurance policy that covers specific health issues requiring specialist assistance, you must disclose such information to your insurer. While some insurers may be skeptical about covering such conditions, those that do cover them give a waiting period during which you will be expected to pay premiums before the insurance coverage begins.
2. Ensure That Your Work Insurance Provider Covers Families
If you get your health insurance from your place of employment, you may need to confirm whether the employer provides insurance for family members. Some employers do not cover family members under the insurance policy provided to their employees. Thus, you should confirm as early as possible to avoid going to the hospital to seek insurance only to realize that your family members are not covered.
Having said that, it is good to note that having your family members covered under your work insurance policy could result in additional premiums depending on the insurer.
3. Find an Insurance Plan with Many Health Care Providers
When getting an insurance plan, get one that many hospitals and health care providers recognize. Many insurance providers only honor claims made by a specific set of hospitals as indicated under the policy. Thus, if you go to a hospital that is not included, the hospital may demand upfront payment. Getting an insurer that recommends many hospitals will help widen the scope of treatment you can get.
4. Read the Fine Print
As with any contract, reading the fine print will ensure you get health insurance benefits. Every insurance policy has specific terms and conditions you must adhere to to be covered. These include the requirements for notification and other exclusions that apply to your policy. Knowing the details of all covered will be good for you in the long run.
5. Look for Ways to Lower the Premium Costs
In many instances, the cheapest insurance policies have minimal benefits. However, if you are under a strict budget but still want to benefit from a good insurance policy, you may want to pay attention to the discounts various insurers provide. Additionally, ensure that you use the deductibles that insurers may provide to lower your premiums.
Getting private medical treatment in Hong Kong could be very expensive, mainly because of the high cost of living in the country. However, following the tips above can help you enjoy most benefits of health insurance in Hong Kong.
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