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Top-up insurance in Hong Kong: What is it and do I need it?

As one of the most sought-after employee benefits in Hong Kong, the majority of expats working here will likely have employer-provided health insurance. In the midst of skyrocketing healthcare costs, however, a growing number of companies are finding ways to save on their employee benefits. In fact, in 2017 more than half (55%) of HK employers have adopted cost containment measures such as introducing co-payments, and limiting cover to a specific network of hospitals. As more and more people in the city are finding that their company plan is simply not enough to meet their needs, this has in turn fuelled the growth in demand for top-up insurance.

Now, you’re probably wondering “What exactly is top-up insurance?” and, more importantly, “Why do I need it?” In an effort to provide in-depth answers to the most commonly asked questions about top-up health insurance, our team of employee benefits experts have recently released the Hong Kong Top-Up Guide 2017-2018. Today’s blog post looks at what you can expect from our latest guide, as well as addresses what a top-up insurance plan is, what it covers, and why you would need it.


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What you can expect from our latest top-up insurance guide

Ever wondered whether your employer-provided health insurance is enough? If you are unsure or think that your company plan may not be quite enough, be sure to download our latest Hong Kong Top-Up Guide. Best of all, the guide is completely free to download, and answers the most commonly asked questions about top-up health insurance in the city-state, including:

  • What exactly is a top-up health insurance plan?
  • Where can top-up policies be used?
  • What are the most common coverage deficiencies in employer-provided health insurance?
  • What are the actual costs of care at public vs private facilities in Hong Kong?
  • What are my top-up options?
  • How can I find the best top-up insurance solution in Hong Kong?
  • And more

To best answer the above questions, our easy-to-read guide is structured into the following five key sections:

  1. Background on top-up plans in Hong Kong
  2. Information on Hong Kong hospitals and insurance coverage
  3. Common coverage deficiencies in employer-provided medical insurance
  4. Actual costs of treatment and surgeries at public vs private hospitals (including detailed price tables)
  5. What solutions are available?

Individual Health Insurance Plans

What exactly is a top-up insurance plan?

When you’ve decided that your employer-provided medical insurance plan doesn’t offer you adequate protection, or is missing coverage benefits that you would like to have, what do you do? Before you buy your own separate health insurance policy from scratch, there’s also the often cheaper option of securing top-up insurance from a reputed broker like Pacific Prime Hong Kong.

Designed to supplement the coverage gaps and deficiencies in employer-provided health insurance, a top-up policy looks at the benefits in a policyholder’s existing corporate plan and takes over right where the current plan’s benefits end. Top-up plans typically offer additional coverage over an existing corporate plan, and can also expand coverage benefits that may not be currently provided.

For example, say you are charged HKD 250,000 for a surgery. However, your employee health insurance plan has a maximum limit of only HKD 150,000. This means you will have to pay the additional HKD 100,000. Top-up health insurance takes away that financial liability, and increases your coverage limit so that you have additional protection against unexpectedly high medical bills. Likewise, top-up plans can also be customized to include additional features and benefits like outpatient cover, dental/ maternity insurance, as well as extended geographical cover.

Do I need top-up insurance?

As described above, top-up insurance is ideal and often the most cost-effective solution for anyone looking to boost or make-up for the deficiencies in their existing corporate coverage. This is especially true for employees with a very basic hospitalization-only insurance plan, or a corporate plan that does not adequately fit their requirements, as top-up plans can really help reduce the risk of spending thousands out of pocket on care not covered by their existing insurance.

The need for top-up insurance especially appeals to those who prefer seeking treatment mostly or exclusively at private hospitals and clinics, where low wait times, the ability to choose your own doctor, and other luxurious perks often come with a steep price tag. For example, a total knee replacement at the Union Hospital costs a whopping HKD 96,440, whereas the cost for most inpatient surgergies at public hospitals is only HKD 100 per day (subject to an admission fee of HKD 50).

Identifying the coverage gaps in your employer-provided health insurance

Before looking for a top-up health insurance solution, it’s a good idea to study your own employer-provided health insurance so that you can identify the coverage gaps you might want to supplement. While every employer-provided scheme is different, in our experience some of the most common coverage gaps to look out for when it comes to basic group health insurance plans include:

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  • Low overall limits of coverage for hospitalization
  • Hong Kong only cover
  • No wellness benefits
  • No preventative care benefits
  • Exclusions on pre-existing conditions
  • Lengthy claiming procedure
  • No dental insurance benefits
  • No maternity insurance benefits
  • Limited network of doctors and specialists
  • The requirement of GP referrals before consulting with a specialist
  • And more

Download your FREE copy of our latest Top-Up Guide today

For more in-depth information on top-up insurance, as well as Hong Kong medical treatment costs and your additional coverage insurance options, be sure to download your FREE copy of our latest guide here today. If you have any more questions, or would like some impartial insurance advice, contact Pacific Prime Hong Kong today. With almost two decades of experience in delivering solutions to expats and their families in Hong Kong, our team of experts are more than happy to answer your questions, match you with the best top-up plans, and give you a no obligation, free quote.

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Jess Lindeman

Content Strategist at Pacific Prime Hong Kong
Jessica Lindeman is a Content Strategist at Pacific Prime. She comes to work every day living and breathing the motto of "simplifying insurance", and injects her unbridled enthusiasm for health and insurance related topics into every article and piece of content she creates for Pacific Prime.

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.
Jess Lindeman