Hong Kong Healthcare System & Medical Insurance Options for Expats
Expats have a wide range of housing options to choose from when they decide to move to Hong Kong. Ideally, you should pick a place that has adequate healthcare facilities. Citizens, permanent residents, and expatriates can expect world-class healthcare in this region. Public, as well as private hospitals, have ultra-modern medical technology apart from English-speaking staff. Healthcare costs in Hong Kong are very high, so opting for international health insurance can be the best bet as a digital nomad or expat. Here’s what you need to know about Hong Kong healthcare system and medical insurance options for expats.
Though expensive, the high-quality healthcare available will ensure that you are in safe hands. Many health specialists and doctors are fluent in the English language, so communicating with them won’t be an issue. Many doctors are trained in top institutes in the United States.
More health information about Hong Kong is available here.
Overview of Healthcare in Hong Kong
The healthcare system in Hong Kong includes public healthcare and private care. Public medical care is for free but sometimes expats must pay a small fee. You don’t need to purchase private health insurance if you are availing public healthcare. Expats choosing the private system will require adequate private medical insurance as medical expenses can be very expensive. On the other hand, expats can purchase private insurance on their own or get it through their employer. After obtaining a valid visa and Hong Kong ID card, expats can use the public healthcare system.
How the Hong Kong Healthcare System Works for Expats
Hong Kong boasts to be one of the world’s top international financial centers, so it undoubtedly a favorite for expats. It is estimated that 68% of expats in this region are happy with their lifestyle and career progression. Expats are eligible to choose either public or private medical care. The public system comprises of around 41 hospitals, 47 specialist centers, and 73 outpatient health clinics. They are included within the seven different hospital clusters. The total number of registered private hospitals here is about 12.
Public Healthcare in Hong Kong
People with Hong Kong Identity Card are eligible for subsidized healthcare in public facilities. However, if you are a non-permanent expat, you will have to pay for medical expenses that are almost similar to expenses in private institutions. The standard of care in public clinics and hospitals may be of the highest level, but the efficiency of service levels may be lacking to a certain extent. This is the reason why most expats usually go for private medical care.
Non-permanent residents who have settled in the region for over six months must acquire a Hong Kong ID card (HKID). You can register for HKID if you have a valid work visa and travel documents. However, you don’t need the HKID if your stay is less than six months. Expats without an HKID will have to pay higher fees in public hospitals.
Private Healthcare in Hong Kong
The 12 private hospitals in this region have international accreditation. Expats usually opt for private healthcare as the costs are almost similar to public healthcare, and the waiting time for treatment is shorter. Moreover, other comforts like privacy make private hospitals a welcome option for international expats.
If your employer does not pay for healthcare coverage, you can choose from a range of expat health insurance plans available. Always pick an insurance plan from a reliable insurance service provider. Additionally, some of the private healthcare facilities in Hong Kong offer 5-star hotel facilities, including spacious rooms and tasty quality meals.
Emergency Medical Services in Hong Kong
Almost all the hospitals in Hong Kong offer 24×7 emergency care. The best part is that the emergency services here are quite reliable. You can expect an ambulance to reach the spot within 12 minutes of booking it. You should dial 999 for emergency services, including ambulances, police, and firefighters services.
Medicines and Pharmacies
Pharmacies in Hong Kong are usually well-stocked, and they are open on all days of the week. Most of them operate 24/7 too. Furthermore, there are over 300 operating community pharmacies, and each of them has at least one pharmacist.
Best Private International Medical Insurance Plans for Expats in Hong Kong
Private health insurance plays an integral part in Hong Kong. As an expatriate in HK, you should opt for international health insurance coverage so that you are secure and adequately insured during medical emergencies. The government has strict visa regulations, and expats get visas only when they have adequate insurance coverage from their employers. Even though public healthcare is readily available for expats, opting for international health insurance is always advisable. This can supplement your employer-provided health insurance coverage wherever required.