Short-term expats in Hong Kong

Healthcare and the Hong Kong ID card

Short-term expats in Hong Kong

Healthcare in Hong Kong is highly rated, and with public hospitals that provide full services from emergency treatments to in-patient facilities, expat residents can be satisfied with what’s on offer. But if you’re a short-term expat, there are a few things to consider...

In Hong Kong, you’re a short-term expat if you are only staying for 180 days or less. If this applies to you, you’ll find out sooner or later that you are ineligible to apply for a Hong Kong ID card.

So what’s this got to do with healthcare? The cost of care in public hospitals in Hong Kong without an ID card is very high: we’re talking up to 33 times as much as someone with an ID. With payments often required in cash, this can prove quite prohibitive, but there are solutions.

International health insurance

To help avoid these expensive bills it is advisable that short-term expats take out private health insurance. There are many providers from both local and international companies, but if you are a ‘serial’ short-term expat, i.e. will be spending short stints in many countries, then it is advisable to choose an international insurer to make sure you are covered worldwide. Cigna Global for example claims that with them you will have access to one of the largest networks of hospitals around the world , meaning you won’t have to constantly update or change your plan as you move from country to country, or even back home.

Employer healthcare incentives

Many expat employers in Hong Kong offer healthcare incentives in their employment packages, providing another possible solution for the short-term expat. An upside of these is that they often include access to private hospitals  which can be more comfortable and have shorter waiting times.

If not offered this by a potential employer, it is certainly recommended that you try and negotiate it into the deal.

Further reading

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