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Insurers pile in on Hong Kong’s new private health insurance program
2019/03/11 03:49:16
China's News, China's Financial News, insurance

Mar 11, 2019 (China Knowledge) - Eleven insurance companies have been confirmed to have received approval to enter Hong Kong’s new health insurance program which aims to create affordable private medical coverage in the city to relieve pressure on its overloaded public medical system.

Some of these insurance companies include international and local giants, AXA, AIA, Manulife and Prudential.

The new Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) will give participants HKD 8,000 worth of tax breaks each year for each family member put under the plan and Hong Kong residents under the plan will have access to public medical coverage such as visits to clinics, hospitalizations and surgeries.

In addition, 90% of the costs of healthcare incurred under the scheme will be covered by taxpayers, reducing the actual costs incurred by the individual may be just 10% of that at private hospitals.

Currently, Hong Kong’s public hospitals are overloaded with people such that clinic visits require hours of waiting and non-urgent surgeries may even be delayed for years. As such, the city’s government hopes to be able to shift some of the demand from those with higher means into the private healthcare system to alleviate this burden through tax incentives.

The program also helps to ensure that residents remain covered by insurance even after 60-years-old when many private plans cut off coverage. Policyholders under the VHIS are covered up to 100-years-old with an annual compensation of up to HKD 420,000.

The Hong Kong government expects about 1.5 million people to buy into the VHIS plan over the next three years with 1.1 million of them moving over from their current private plans and another 400,000 buying private plans for the first time.

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