Header image courtesy of Drew Gilliam (via Unsplash)
As a safe and diverse world city with excellent schools, it’s no wonder that Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most popular destinations for expats. And while our healthcare system is one of the best in the world, families who are relocating from countries with more affordable healthcare may be in for a bit of sticker shock.
Luckily, insurance can help reduce costs while ensuring that you and your loved ones get the best medical treatment. But there’s an art to picking the right insurance for your needs—which is why we have asked the pros from Pacific Prime Hong Kong for a few helpful tips to consider when choosing the best health insurance for your family.
Every family is unique, and so are their health needs. Before you start looking at health insurance plans, you have to think about your present and future healthcare needs. Consider inpatient versus outpatient coverage, for example—if you or your family members need to visit a doctor regularly, you’ll need a plan with outpatient benefits to cover care outside of overnight hospital stays, such as specialist and general practitioner (GP) visits.
Conversely, if you rarely fall ill and haven’t had any major health issues, then inpatient-only coverage might be more suitable. It’s important to note that any injuries or illnesses you have or already had—also known as pre-existing conditions—are generally not covered by most insurers. Those that do cover them typically charge extra or attach something known as a “waiting period” before your coverage comes into effect.
Once you’ve figured out your healthcare needs, you’ll have to determine the types of coverage benefits you’re after. Coverage benefits don’t just vary between insurers, but even between policies from the same company. Most basic insurance plans cover hospitalisation expenses for just one country with minimal additional benefits, while more comprehensive insurance plans may also provide outpatient benefits or coverage for dental or maternity treatment.
While your ideal coverage benefits will depend on your needs, most local and international insurance plans in Hong Kong will provide inpatient and outpatient coverage. If necessary, you can add coverage such as health checks and pre-existing conditions.
Everyone loves a bargain, but when it comes to insurance, the cheapest plan is usually cheap for a reason. Policies that are much more affordable typically don’t have the best benefits—or have less-than-ideal claims reimbursement and customer service. However, you can reduce the cost of family health insurance by adjusting your deductible (the amount you pay first before your insurer pays the rest). Higher deductibles generally mean cheaper premiums and vice versa. Remember: There’s no harm in asking for a discount or asking the provider to work with your budget, especially if you have several dependents on one plan!
Just like any other type of insurance plan, a family health insurance plan comes with important terms and conditions. As a policyholder, it is imperative for you to go over everything with a fine-tooth comb until you understand what you’re signing up for. A few things you need to pay close attention to include the benefit limits, healthcare provider network, pre-existing coverage, and waiting periods.
Let’s say you end up buying a family insurance plan that allows your family to go to any clinic or hospital in Hong Kong. Even though it might feel like we’re stuck in Hong Kong for eternity (thanks, pandemic!), presumably you plan on going abroad again one day, whether it’s just for holiday or a proper relocation. Since most Hong Kong health insurance for foreigners only covers care while you’re here, an international health insurance plan might be more suitable for your family.
Whether you’re a long-time Hongkonger or new to the city, getting the best family health insurance for expats is no easy feat. There are reliable online resources that can provide useful information, but your safest bet is to consult a licensed broker. Brokers charge the same rates as insurers yet offer many extra services such as impartial advice, as well as renewals and claims submissions. Reputable brokers like Pacific Prime compare health insurance in Hong Kong to ensure you secure the right plan for your needs and budget. For a free, no-obligation quote or unbiased advice, contact Pacific Prime Hong Kong today.