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New report finds Hong Kong second most expensive for individual medical insurance

Pacific Prime has recently released the first article of a report looking at the cost of individual medical insurance in 94 countries. Article 1 - available for free from our website - titled: The cost of health insurance for expats in 94 countries, presents a ranking of the 20 most expensive, and 5 least expensive countries on average for individual international health insurance plans for Singles, Couples, Families, and Retirees. It also presents the average premiums for these demographics in every country in the report; providing a solid glimpse into what you can expect to pay in each country.

Posted on Apr 08, 2015 by Rob McBroom

The average cost of individual medical insurance in Hong Kong

Article 1, launched on March 30th, and available for free on our website, presents a number of interesting findings, including figures for Hong Kong. Anyone who lives, or has lived in the city will be quick to tell you that it is one of the most expensive places on earth. This includes private health care such as treatment at private hospitals, which is the medium of choice for many expats and HNW individuals when they need medical attention.

Because of the high costs associated with the city, one would assume that health insurance would also be high. As found in the report, the average health insurance premium in the city is USD 11,606. When broken down into each demographic, the averages are: USD 5,265 for Singles, USD 11,402 for Couples, USD 16,838 for families, and USD 12,522 for retirees.

In every category, these prices rank Hong Kong as the second most expensive location, after the US, in the report for this specific type of health insurance. While Hong Kong is the second most expensive place, the average price for insurance is only 53% of that in the US - this indicates a wide difference between the top two spots. See the report for how other cities and locations fared when compared to Hong Kong.

Why are the premiums so high in Hong Kong?

At first glance, these figures may be somewhat shocking, especially to managers looking to send people to the city, or implement international health plans. Pacific Prime has identified a number of reasons as to why the average premiums are so high. Three reasons include:

1. It is the way the averages are calculated

To get to this number, Pacific Prime took the premiums (with zero deductible and excess) from six providers offering three plans each to the four demographics, and averaged them to get the overall figures. As with many other health insurance comparisons, there are premiums that cover a wide range. Combine this with the fact that different plan levels, offering different types of coverage, and therefore premiums, and you will see numbers that can be higher than specific individual rates.

2. The cost of health care is high

The standard of health care in Hong Kong is very high, especially at the private hospitals in the city. Because the majority of individuals who purchase the plans included in the report are HNW expats, and locals who prefer the private system due to lower wait times and more personal care, the average medical bill will be higher. With higher medical bills, comes higher insurance premiums.

3. There is a language barrier in place

While the level of English in Hong Kong is higher than in other cities in the region, the level of English spoken in the public healthcare system is highly variable. This can result in many expats feeling like the level of care they are receiving is not up to their standards. To resolve this issue, people will turn to the private system, which hires doctors and staff who can speak a number of different languages.

This, in turn, results in an increased cost of care because these professionals usually need to be brought in from other countries, and may receive higher salaries. To cover this, insurance premiums will also be higher.  

To learn more about why individual international health insurance plans can be so costly, we highly recommend downloading Article 1. It can be downloaded for free from Pacific Prime’s website.

Look for more information in our upcoming articles

As mentioned above, there are three articles in this report. Article 2 offers an in depth look at the cost of health insurance in 7 top expat destinations including Hong Kong, while Article 3 compares costs on a regional basis. Hong Kong is included in each of these articles along with some interesting findings and analysis. Watch out for the next two articles, which will be launched in the coming months. 

Looking to learn more about the individual medical insurance plans available from Pacific Prime? We offer an online quote generator that helps to make your search easier. Or, you can contact us today if you have any questions.  


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