Hong Kong Budget 2020 – Implications for the healthcare sector
With the recent release of the Hong Kong 2020 Budget, many will be interested to learn about the implications the budget will have, especially for the private and public healthcare sector. This comes at a time where months of prolonged economic instability due to the protest movements, and also fear of a likely global Covid-19 pandemic, could leave the healthcare sectors in Hong Kong struggling even more.
Discover the latest from the 2020 budget announcement in this article by Pacific Prime Hong Kong.
Key budget commitments for Hong Kong
Healthcare is one of the top agendas for the citizens of Hong Kong in 2020. Many, especially the frail and elderly, are thrilled by the announcement of better primary care from this year’s budget. With an aging population and an increase in the number of people with pre-existing conditions, these budget measures will help ameliorate the resources available to support those in need of better care. With that said, the Hong Kong government will continue to allocate more resources to promote district-based primary healthcare services.
More district-based primary healthcare services (DHC)
These services will be instrumental in further combating the challenges of the triple health burden: the resurgence of communicable diseases, early onset of non-communicable diseases, and disability caused by mental health.
Increased funding for DHC
The Government plans to allocate HKD $650 million in funding to seven DHCs (Kwai Tsing District Health Centre and six new DHCs). Also, HKD $600 million will be allocated to provide subsidies to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the setting up of smaller interim “DHC Express” services.
Mental health services are given a boost
To provide adequate support to people suffering from mental distress due to work burnout, financial, or personal pressures, the Government announced that it will allocate additional resources to the FHB, the Labour and Welfare Bureau, and the Education Bureau. A figure has yet to be announced, but it is still welcoming news to sufferers and their affected family members.
Elderly support and care for the disabled
For the baby boomers of Hong Kong, the announcement from the budget will bring much relief. The Government has issued a commitment to provide a total of 3,000 additional home care service quotas for elderly citizens in Hong Kong. More so, 1,000 community care service vouchers are to be issued to elderly citizens with moderate or severe impairment by the end of 2020.
Providing additional care homes will ensure that individuals will have the proper care and attention in place that can help prolong care for their health. Rather than being crammed in a small apartment with spiraling rent costs, the opportunity to move into a care home is divine news for many in Hong Kong.
Anti-epidemic funding for Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s encounter with the Covid-19 virus has further wreaked havoc on the city-state’s economy. In turn, the Government has proposed to set-up a HKD $30 billion fund to purchase “anti-epidemic” supplies and to subsidize local companies to produce the necessary protective items. Containment is critical to Hong Kong’s ability to combat the latest epidemic and delay further spread by investing in protection and prevention.
Implications for the private and public healthcare sector
The public healthcare system will be pleased at the announcement of the Government’s first 10-year hospital development plan. The Government has plans to allocate HKD $200 billion for infrastructure expansions that will increase public bed capacity by 6,000 beds and 90 operating theatres. In addition, the second 10-Year Hospital Development Plan will see an additional 9,000 beds and other hospital facilities added by 2036.
Private hospitals to diversity business model and partner with public hospitals
Since the beginning of 2020, the Covid-19 epidemic has had a substantial impact on the private healthcare system. The drop in travelers from around the world, including medical tourists from Mainland China, has put stress on hospital providers. A solution to get around this lies in their close partnerships with private health insurance providers.
The private healthcare sector will need to work hand-in-hand with insurers to secure adequate patient flow and review pricing to make services more accessible wherever possible. Diversifying into new services and solutions as 2020 unfolds will be paramount to long-term returns, recovery, and sustainability.
How can private health insurance help you?
2020 is already proving to be a year filled with uncertainty, as Covid-19 spreads to all corners of Hong Kong. Public healthcare facilities are already overwhelmed with a significant proportion of worried citizens fearing infection. Although the announcement of the budget shows the Government’s commitment to business as usual, getting treatment for any medical treatment will be on the minds of many. This all falls on top of a population that is aging and people suffering from mental health problems.
However, with an individual private health insurance plan, you are ensuring that, if your health were to deteriorate, you are guaranteed health cover at a private health facility included in the plan. Here are some of the benefits of a private health insurance plan:
For more information on how private health insurance can offer you protection and certainty over treatment, contact our insurance experts today!
His expert view and wealth of knowledge on insurance can also be found in his blogs for China, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
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