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New report highlights welcome changes to local HK health insurance plans

Finding health insurance in Hong Kong isn’t hard, but finding the right plan for you can be. Like most consumer industries, the options available to you will come in different shapes and sizes; some will offer coverage for certain types of medical conditions, others will offer coverage with limits on how often you may make a claim. Understanding Hong Kong insurance trends can be a great help to anyone in the market for a new plan, and a recently released Pacific Prime Hong Kong report can get you on your way.

This week, Pacific Prime discusses some of the recent changes in Hong Kong health insurance that was highlighted in the State of Health Insurance in Hong Kong 2017-2018 report.

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Hong Kong insurance trends

As a company, we’ve been monitoring the trends of key locations for health insurance for nearly two decades. Knowing what’s happening and what may happen in the future is key to ensuring we can deliver the best advice and support to clients looking for medical coverage around the world. In Hong Kong, where our headquarters is based, there were two interesting trends conveyed by our expert consultants that offer some guidance to those looking to buy a new health plan:

Insurers making local health insurance plans more comprehensive

There are two types of medical plans that are common the world over; international health insurance, and local health insurance. The former are plans that can be bought in most countries around the globe, but offer medical coverage internationally. These plans are typically more expensive than their local counterparts, however they often come with the highest benefits and most comprehensive coverage. Local plans, in contrast, offer coverage only in the country they’re designed for – meaning a Hong Kong local health insurance policy will usually not cover you in China, the UK or the US, for example.

A long standing state of affairs in the insurance industry is that local health plans are almost always less comprehensive than their international counterparts. Their pricing is usually a lot cheaper, which makes sense considering their much reduced geographical coverage, but having lower benefits and limits are also a reason for their affordability. A key factor highlighted in our report has shown that local HK plans can have a low lifetime limit, meaning that once you’ve claimed the full amount outlined in your policy you’ll be required to pay the rest out-of-pocket for the rest of your life.

The good news here is that there is a Hong Kong insurance trend emerging that shows insurers are now increasing the benefits and limits offered through local plans, meaning those only requiring medical coverage in Hong Kong are getting greater support. This can be in greater inpatient or outpatient benefits, expanded wellness coverage (including vaccinations), and higher limits, making plans more effective for consumers. How exactly these plans have changed will vary from product to product, so finding out more can be as easy as talking to our insurance consultants.

Insurers exploring different accommodation types

As part of a wider global trend, insurers are continuing to focus on cost control and stemming the rising cost of insurance as time goes on. Medical inflation and the changing healthcare needs of people are always putting pressure on the premium prices insurers set and consumers pay. Another Hong Kong insurance trend featured in our report includes a focus on plans to consider accommodation options that offer better value for money. In particular, we’ve seen some insurers restrict certain private hospital room types, or even working with hospitals in their network to secure discounted room rates.

This has been a common move with Hong Kong group insurance providers, however can be a feature of individual plans as well. While many expect to access and receive the best care possible from their health insurance policies, the rising cost of all things related to healthcare will require many to consider whether they’re willing to compromise on staying in a private ward with the amenities of a 5-star hotel in order to pay less for the actual medical coverage they need. The luxury room plans are still available, however Hong Kong insurers should see greater options available to them if they’re looking to cut the costs of their insurance.

What other Hong Kong insurance trends are being seen?

Our report, the State of Health Insurance in Hong Kong 2017-2018, also features a range of global and regional trends that are impacting international private medical insurance as well. These trends, whilst having a global and Asia specific focus, still have some bearing on the health insurance market of Hong Kong. These trends include:

  • Realignment of maternity cover
  • Insurers expanding their regional presence
  • Plans becoming more modular in design
  • Cost containment focus increases

In addition to these, the final section of the report also highlights a number of health insurance issues that companies can find challenging in securing group health and employee benefits in the SAR. Both individual insurance consumers and those interested in understanding more about group health plans can find a wealth of information contained in the State of Health Insurance report that will help support your decisions around your next health insurance purchase.

Where can I find out more?

Our new report is available free from our website, as are the reports released by our global partners:

All of the information available in these reports comes from the expertise and experience of our own insurance consultants, many of which have decades of intimate knowledge regarding the health insurance industry and the countries in which we operate. For more about Hong Kong insurance trends, or to find out how you can secure a better health plan for you, your family, or your company, contact the team at Pacific Prime Hong Kong today!

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