Hong Kong: healthcare system

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Allianz Care - Hong Kong

The public healthcare system in Hong Kong is considered high quality. A 2012 report by the World Health Organisation Western Pacific Region and the Department of Health in Hong Kong found the system provided impressive outcomes for the people of Hong Kong. It was found to meet the population’s changing medical needs with a combination of medical technology and a flexible approach.

Who is eligible for public healthcare in Hong Kong?

Public healthcare is available in Hong Kong to those who meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a Hong Kong identification card (issued with a valid visa)
  • Children under 11 resident in Hong Kong
  • Anyone approved by the Hospital Authority chief executive

While healthcare in Hong Kong is not provided free of charge, costs are relatively low for those who qualify for cover.

Do I have to pay for public healthcare?

Once you meet the criteria listed above to access public healthcare in Hong Kong then costs are minimal. At the time of writing, a visit to a public outpatient clinic is HKD100 (€11.40) and there is a HKD10 (€1.40) charge for prescriptions. However if you do not meet the criteria for public healthcare then the cost of care is high,  The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recommends taking out international health insurance.

How do I access the public healthcare system in Hong Kong?

The public healthcare system is administered by two agencies:

  1. The Department of Health manages day to day public health including visits to a family doctor, maternity services and child assessments.
  2. The Hospital Authority manages public hospitals and outpatient treatment.

At the time of writing there are 73 general health care clinics offering primary healthcare in Hong Kong. They usually operate as walk in centres meaning you don’t have to register with one in particular. If your medical needs are more serious you can attend one of more than 40 public hospitals where treatment will be based on assessed need. For treatment in an emergency, dial 999 for an ambulance.

While the standard of care is high, using the public healthcare system usually involves:

  • A lot of waiting; emergencies are always seen or scheduled first
  • Staff who may not be able to speak English

How do I access private healthcare in Hong Kong?

Private healthcare is administered by one of 12 private hospitals in Hong Kong. These hospitals are supplemented with a number of private doctors offering primary healthcare in the community. All private healthcare facilities are regulated by the Department of Health.

Expat employees in Hong Kong

If you are working as an expatriate with a large company in Hong Kong, your employer may provide you with international health insurance. However, if your employer does not provide this, then it is best to source expat health insurance for yourself. In the event that you are not sure what cover you need, contact our team of experts, we are happy to answer any questions you have.

Why should I consider private health insurance in Hong Kong?

  1. Continuity of care: in the public system you will be seen by whatever doctor is on call, whereas, in the private system, you will usually be seen by the same doctor.
  2. Avoid waiting lists: some procedures within the public health care system may have significant waiting lists. For example, cataract surgery waiting lists vary from 9 months to 26months depending on where you live.
  3. Levels of accommodation: if you need to stay in hospital in the public healthcare system you will be accommodated in busy wards containing 3-10 beds. With private healthcare you will have a semi-private or private room allowing for a more comfortable recovery.
  4. Medical evacuation: with expat health insurance the costs of returning home in the event of a medical emergency may be covered.

Although public healthcare in Hong Kong is of high quality, there are many advantages to international health insurance. Make sure you and your family don’t have to wait for medical treatment in Hong Kong by contacting us today for more information.

Moving or living abroad?

View our international health insurance plans for individuals, professionals, students and families.