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Workplace Health Insurance: Is It Enough?

Ask a Hong Kong employee if she’s happy with her employer-sponsored health insurance policy and the likely answer is – yes. That’s because on the whole, workplace health insurance policies in Hong Kong are a good supplement to the public system. With employer-sponsored insurance, a resident can attend private clinics or hospitals and enjoy shorter waiting times, the ability to see a favorite physician every time, more privacy, more choice in appointment time and what some consider a more comfortable atmosphere.

There are many benefits to holding workplace insurance. However, don’t fall prey to the myth that workplace health coverage is as good as it gets. Because they are group policies, employer-sponsored insurance plans can be fairly basic in terms of coverage and maximum limits – and if you surpass the limits, you’ll pay for medical care out of pocket.

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That’s why there are plenty of patients who choose to supplement their workplace insurance with a top-up policy. If you find yourself in one of the following situations, you may consider doing the same.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Not all employer-sponsored health care plans cover pre-existing conditions. A pre-existing condition is a disease or injury that has existed since before an insurance policy was purchased. Insurers will exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions to protect themselves financially – so as not to pay for medical care for a condition that developed during a time in which the patient wasn’t paying monthly premiums.

Common pre-existing ailments include chronic diseases like diabetes or asthma, injuries sustained a long time ago that still produce health care difficulties in the present, and conditions like high blood pressure. Employees with one or more of these ailments may need to purchase top-up insurance if their workplace health plan excludes coverage for pre-existing conditions. Of course, it is possible to receive treatment for these conditions, inexpensively, through Hong Kong’s public health care system – however long waiting times and difficulty choosing preferred appointment times puts off many patients who prefer to purchase a bit of extra insurance and use the private system instead.

Concern about In-Patient Expenses

Surgery and hospitalization costs can add up quickly, especially if you prefer to use a private hospital. Employees who have any reason to fear that they might need a serious operation (for example, people who regularly engage in dangerous sports or who have experienced chronic physical problems in the past) may choose top-up insurance to reduce their financial risk. Because employer-sponsored policies typically have low coverage maximums, without top-up insurance a patient could end up paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for their hospitalization and surgical fees. If a surgery is charged at HK$250,000 and the patient’s insurance limit is HK$120,000, the additional HK$130,000 must be paid by the patient.

Top-up insurance takes away that financial liability, increasing your insurance limits with a monthly top-up premium that keeps patients protected in case an accident or injury leads to unexpectedly high medical bills.

A Good Choice for Travelers

Those who travel often for work or pleasure can protect themselves abroad with top-up insurance. Many top-up plans, especially those geared to expats, offer worldwide medical protection and 24-hour worldwide emergency service. Without a seamless travel insurance option, frequent fliers may be forced to buy one-off policies every time they travel, which is an additional cost (and can be lots more complicated) than simply topping off an existing insurance plan.

Leisure travelers who favour remote destination or adventurous sports may also appreciate the ability of top-up insurance to ensure access to emergency services around the globe. Top-up travel plans can offer emergency evacuation, medical and dental care – services that, without a globally-effective insurance plan, could end up adding significant costs to travel.

Other Medical Needs

The fact is, most workplace insurance plans are set up to cover basic care only, and a minimum of emergency services. If you have other medical needs that mean you visit a doctor more often than others, top up insurance is a good idea. These needs may include mental health care, dental or orthodontic work, or frequent physical therapy.

In the end, what’s important to remember is that when an employer-sponsored health plan doesn’t offer quite enough, top-up insurance can be an affordable option to ensure health care expenses are manageable, whatever your needs.

To find out more about the top-up plans offered by Pacific Prime and all the insurance companies that we work with, contact us today! Our agents can identify and provide coverage that addresses all of your needs, and provide you with a free price quote and plan comparison.

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