Your guide to comparing health insurance plans
In Hong Kong there are no fewer than 20 insurers offering a wide variety of health insurance plans. If you include all of the offshore international insurance providers as well, this number goes up to well over 50. This, in turn, means that we are all pretty much spoiled for choice when it comes to health insurance coverage. The issue here is that not all plans are equal, it can be hard to wade through the thousands of options to find the plan that best meets your coverage needs.
To help make the process of finding a health insurance plan easier, we have recently created an infographic, available for free here, that covers three of the most important aspects you need to consider when looking for health insurance.
In this article we will take a deeper look at the aforementioned important aspects and how they relate to health insurance plans available in Hong Kong.
This is arguably the most important aspect to many people looking for health insurance in Hong Kong. Due to the increasing cost of medical care in the city, especially at private facilities, it has become important and nearly essential for most people to secure health insurance that can offset this cost.
The thing is, when looking at best private medical insurance plans in the city, many can be hit with a bit of “sticker-shock” when they start comparing plans. One thing to bear in mind when using online health insurance comparison tools, like the one available on Pacific Prime Hong Kong‘s website, is that the results will often show a wide range of premiums.
Take for example the results presented by our plan comparison tool for a 30 year-old male in Hong Kong:
The premiums range from as low as USD 27 per month to as high as USD 350 per month. Why is this? Well, it primarily has to do with two things:
- It’s because some plans are quoted with deductibles – This is the amount you need to pay for care before an insurer will start covering bills.
- It’s due to the level of coverage offered by the plan – Plans are often designed to offer different levels of coverage (discussed below). Generally, if you add on more coverage, you will pay more.
When it comes to the premiums listed on websites, be sure to look at the deductible and level of cover as they can have a large impact on the premium you pay when you secure the plan. For many people we suggest that you need to determine the level of risk you are willing to undertake. For example, if you don’t go to the doctor on a regular basis and are financially stable for the foreseeable future, you could consider a higher deductible in order to help reduce your premium. If you are unsure, or visit the doctor regularly, it may be wiser to take a lower deductible.
The level of cover
Health insurance plans in Hong Kong tend to offer at least three levels of cover:
- Inpatient only – This is the most basic level of coverage that all plans offer. It covers only care where you are admitted to the hospital for care.
- Inpatient + outpatient coverage – Adds outpatient coverage on top of inpatient coverage. This means that care at clinics and doctor offices will also be covered.
- Inpatient + outpatient + maternity – Takes the above coverage and also adds on maternity coverage. These are often also referred to as full coverage plans.
Of course, some plans will be different in terms of limits and actual care covered, but most plans sold in Hong Kong will cover at least one or all three of the levels above. It should also be noted here that incidentals like dental and optical are often included as add-ons, that require extra premiums in order to secure coverage.
Many online plan comparison tools, including Pacific Prime’s, allow you to add and tweak the levels of coverage. As a general rule of thumb, inpatient only coverage will have the lowest premiums while full coverage will have higher premiums.
Consider the way you will use your plan
Finally, it is also important to consider how you plan to use your health insurance plan. Some people will have a pre-existing condition or will require more coverage than others which means that you will need to consider things like this when looking at plans. For example, some providers won’t cover pre-existing conditions, some will require a loading (additional premium paid for the insurer to cover the condition), others will straight up deny to provide coverage.
Beyond that, it is important to note that the service insurers offer will differ. What we mean by this is that when it comes to things like paying claims, how claims are submitted, working out disputes, communication, etc. insurers will vary by quality. Some of the insurers with lower base premiums will offer lower levels of service which can be annoying for some customers.
For example, they may take longer to repay or even consider claims, or they may be hard to reach when there is a problem. The problem here is that it can be hard to know this ahead of time, especially if you have never worked with the insurer before. One solution to this problem is to work with Pacific Prime Hong Kong.
We work with all insurers on a regular basis and are aware of the plans they offer and how they will cover people. From there we can advise on the best medical insurer for you. One tool we use is the information covered in the infographic. So when you are looking for a health insurance plan, be sure to take a look at it and consider the information discussed.
And, as always, if you have any questions regarding health insurance in Hong Kong, feel free to contact us today.
When she's not typing away on her keyboard, she's reading poetry, fueling her insatiable wanderlust, getting her coffee fix, and perpetually browsing animal Instagram accounts.
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