According to Zurich Insurance’s 2019 survey, more than 27% of survey respondents did not purchase health insurance. Within this group, almost 40% lists “don’t have time” as their main reason for not buying insurance. However, another 40% say that they “don’t have the money to spare”.
Hong Kong’s public healthcare system has always been on the verge of collapsing. That’s why health insurance - be it a standard plan or the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) - is crucial. Today at Kwiksure, we will explain the top 4 reasons why you should buy health insurance.
1. Overburdened public hospitals
The waiting time for a consultation with doctors at public hospitals can be very long. When it comes to specialists, you’ll often have to wait for at least a year. What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic is making things worse.
As of June 30th this year, the new, but stable cases of the Department of Ophthalmology in the Kowloon East Cluster have the longest waiting time out of all clusters and departments. According to the information provided on the Hospital Authority (HA)’s website, the longest waiting time is 172 weeks or about 3.5 years.
Hong Kong West and Kowloon East Clusters follow after with their Department of Internal Medicine. Their longest waiting times are 3.2 years and 2.9 years, respectively. On the other hand, patients of the Kowloon Central Cluster’s Department of Ear Nose Throat Department also need to wait for up to 2.9 years.
Besides the waiting time for specialists, the emergency room waiting time is similarly worrying. According to the HA's data for September 16th, most public hospitals’ emergency rooms have at least one hour of waiting time. Also, parts of the public hospitals require you to wait for more than 2 hours. If it’s in the middle of a flu season or raging pandemic, the queue time can last up to 8 hours.
Riddled with holes, the public healthcare system demonstrates just how important health insurance is. Health insurance allows you the option to get the most suitable/best treatment for your condition at a private hospital as soon as possible.
2. Help pay for the expensive inpatient and surgery fees
There’s been an upward trend of younger people being diagnosed with life-threatening diseases, such as heart attack and cancer. Cancer, in particular, is known as the number 1 killer.
According to the 2017 data by the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, Hong Kong’s cancer cases surged to 33,075 - a record high compared to 2016’s 1,607 cases. However, the public hospital network only provides the most basic protection. So, traditional treatments such as chemotherapy are used to treat cancer - which can be incredibly painful for the patients.
Targeted therapy drugs are another common treatment. Nevertheless, the cost requires at least a stunning 5-figure sum. To add to that, only standard drugs on the HA’s "drug list" are eligible for funding. As a result, many targeted drugs are excluded. This means that patients have to pay out-of-pocket and burden their loved ones with heavy medical bills.
Based on Pacific Prime’s Cost of Health Insurance Report 2019, the average premium is USD $5,738 (HKD $44,500). Compared to 2018’s $5,496 (HKD $42,600), it’s 4% higher or around three times the amount of the base rate. That’s why the earlier you purchase a health insurance plan, the cheaper it works out to be.
4. Unknown pre-existing conditions
"Unknown pre-existing medical condition" refers to the medical condition that you have prior to the insurance policy issue date or the effective date (whichever is earlier). This clause also includes congenital diseases. Although the VHIS usually covers unknown pre-existing diseases, it has a waiting period clause. Generally, your pre-existing conditions are not covered in the first policy year. On the other hand, in the second policy year, you can enjoy up to 25% coverage. In the third policy year, enjoy up to 50% coverage. In the fourth policy year, you can obtain the full compensation. Therefore, the earlier you enroll in an insurance plan, the higher your chances of getting compensation.
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Of course, the sooner you purchase VHIS, the earlier you can enjoy tax deductions as well. Want the low-down on how to apply for tax deduction? Refer to our previous article on 2020 VHIS Tax Deduction Strategy.
Aside from VHIS, Kwiksure also provides a variety of products such as car insurance (third-party and comprehensive), motorcycle insurance, and domestic helper insurance. Use our free online quotation system to get a quote today! Want to chat with our expert insurance advisors? Contact our experienced team for impartial suggestions to help you find the best insurance solutions!