Chronic conditions and medical insurance in Hong Kong
According to the WHO, chronic diseases kill 41 million people per year. In other words, it accounts for a dramatic 71% of all deaths globally. If worse comes to worst, how do you protect yourself from chronic conditions? What can you do to make sure you have enough financial resources to take care of yourself or your family? In this Pacific Prime Hong Kong article, we’ll explain what these are. Most importantly, you’ll find out whether your health insurance chronic condition coverage.
What are chronic conditions?
Chronic conditions are an umbrella term for long-lasting diseases that cannot be cured with our current technology. You can only manage their symptoms, sometimes even for a lifetime. They are broadly defined as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical treatment. Also known as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), chronic diseases are not infectious. Thus, they cannot be transmitted from one person to another. People of all age groups – particularly the older (senior) groups – are affected by them. Accounting for 80% of all premature NCD deaths, these are the four main types of chronic conditions:
- Cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks and stroke)
- Chronic respiratory diseases (e.g. chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma)
Chronic conditions in Hong Kong
Every year, the Department of Health publishes a report on death rates by the leading causes of death. This chart is sorted by the number of deaths per 100,000 citizens. Based on these statistics, the following are the four leading causes in Hong Kong:
- Malignant neoplasms (i.e. cancer)
- Heart diseases
- Cerebrovascular diseases (e.g. stroke)
Undeniably, chronic diseases like cancer, heart diseases, and stroke are the leading causes of death in Hong Kong. For the year 2019, you can see that cancer killed around 196 residents per 100,000 people. On the other hand, heart diseases and stroke took the lives of 81 and 39 residents respectively, per 100,000.
Are chronic conditions covered by health insurance?
Chronic conditions can add up to a hefty sum since they require long-term care. For instance, check out the costs of health checkups in Hong Kong alone. Since they dominate as the leading causes of death, there is a chance that you too, could develop one. Your risk of developing these diseases will also increase as you age. Your best bet would be to secure insurance before you develop one. Here are a few tips for finding the best insurance plan.
Health insurance plans normally don’t cover chronic conditions or pre-existing conditions in full before the start of the policy’s term. In fact, they are one of the most common health insurance exclusions. This is to keep prices affordable so policyholders can pay for acute conditions when needed. If insurers were to cover chronic diseases, more claims will be filed. After all, NCDs are illnesses or injuries that need to be treated indefinitely. In other words, chronic conditions are incredibly costly for insurance companies as well.
What aspects are covered?
Treatments normally included by insurers involve attempts to cure or diagnose your chronic condition. Once these attempts have been exhausted, you will pass onto a maintenance phase to manage symptoms.
You may also receive cover if a new treatment option becomes available. This is because instead of merely managing your illness, you are curing it. Always remember to check with your insurer to find out exactly what your policy covers.
It’s important to note that most health plans do provide coverage for asthma and diabetes – both of which are NCDs. Nowadays, most insurance plans also include cancer coverage.
Hong Kong chronic condition coverage
To prepare for the unforeseeable future, you are encouraged to secure a plan with chronic condition coverage. There are three ways medical policies in Hong Kong deal with chronic condition coverage:
1. Acute Phases only
Coverage applies only to “flare-up” or when symptoms occur for your condition. Since there is a possible risk of mortality if left untreated, it’s considered an “acute phase” of the disease.
2. Lifetime limit
Lifetime limits consist of a fixed coverage amount set by your insurance company. This goes towards paying for the medical treatment of your chronic condition. Once you’ve reached the limit, your plan will offer no coverage for additional treatments.
3. Annual limit
A fixed sum is set by your insurer per policy year for the treatment of your chronic illness. When you come to renew your policy, the fixed limit will be reset for the new year.
Secure the best health insurance plan in Hong Kong
Private medical facilities in Hong Kong have a much shorter waiting time and higher quality care. This is particularly important if you are or will be dealing with chronic conditions in the future. Secure international health insurance today for the best medical treatments in Hong Kong and globally. Alternatively, make sure your plan offers coverage for pre-existing conditions.
With over 20 years of experience in the insurance brokers industry, our team of expert insurance advisors are more than happy to help you compare individual health insurance plans, solutions, and more. Contact us now for impartial advice!
Outside of work, Serena spends her time buried in books and dreaming of her next travel destination.
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