Expats with an employment contract will generally be covered by an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Coverage will vary (depending on the plan and your employer), but you can often pay additional fees to increase coverage if needed, e.g. add coverage for pre-existing conditions and family members.
If your company does not give you an insurance plan, or you wish to find a different plan for family members, you can look for one yourself.
Coverage to consider
The most common plans cover the cost of GP consultations, outpatient and inpatient (hospitalisation) treatment. Dental care, coverage for pre-existing and chronic conditions, and emergency evacuation are classed as additional benefits; you can pay extra to add them on to your plan.
Maternity care is also classed as an add-on benefit so is not included in basic outpatient and inpatient plans. All aspects of maternity care in Hong Kong are expensive and any complications can quickly drive up costs. Women are advised to take out coverage that covers for all possible eventualities, so check that a plan covers:
- Routine maternity
- Pre & post-natal coverage
- Medically necessary C-sections
- Congenital disorders
- Pre-existing C-sections
- Pregnancy complications
- Newborn underwriting
It’s also important to check a plan’s ‘waiting period’. Most specify that you must wait 10-12 months after taking out the policy before you can claim for any maternity related expenses.
Insurance companies commonly try to contain their costs by limiting cover to specific hospitals and implementing co-payments (where you pay a percentage of costs yourself). These are important factors to check when searching for plans.
Local vs international
Local plans are starting to offer more benefits, but they will only cover you for treatment in Hong Kong and are usually quite restrictive (e.g. place limits on the number of times you can claim).
International plans are generally more flexible, have access to a wider choice of hospitals, offer services in English (and sometimes other languages) and will cover care outside of Hong Kong (for instance travelling home or on business). You can check out a broker to get different quotes for international health insurance based on your requirements.