Hong Kong is one of the most developed places in the world. It is a global leader in services such as commerce, education, aviation, innovation, and healthcare.
Being an international hub, preferred destination, and residential location for the wealthy, it prioritizes healthcare services to ensure visitors have the best facilities. Hong Kong has some of the best and most well-managed healthcare facilities to serve the large population.
Healthcare is a priority for the HK government committed to ensuring the citizens live the healthiest lives.
With a slightly above 7 million population, many are visiting the healthcare facilities. The hospitals in Hong Kong are structured differently than in other locations.
This makes it sometimes challenging for people to understand how to go through the process. If you are new to Hong Kong or wondering how the healthcare system works, here are some guidelines.
The Hong Kong healthcare system is under the management of the HK hospital authority. The authority manages various facilities such as rehabilitation, specialist outpatient clinics, public hospitals and institutions, general outpatient clinics, and cosmetic clinics and services.
The facilities are divided into seven clusters of acute, convalescent, and rehabilitation hospitals to provide various medical services.
There are two leading medical institutions in Hong Kong. They are classified as private and public hospitals. Also, the public hospitals are called restructured hospitals.
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The country's public healthcare system is vast and the cornerstone of healthcare delivery. It is the safety net for the community providing about 90% of the demanded medical services in the country. They also offer about 29% of the outpatient services in HK.
To qualify for public treatment in Hong Kong, you must meet specific requirements. Not everybody is qualified for subsidized medical services in Hong Kong. This prevents foreigners from entering the country to enjoy the best medical benefits. These restrictions are in place due to the increased demand for medical services in Hong Kong.
Meeting these requirements means you will be eligible for the public healthcare fees; as such, you do not have to pay for healthcare insurance. This is because the public fees are relatively low and affordable.
Despite the affordability, the public healthcare system works on a first-come-first-serve basis; hence you will have to wait before accessing the services. You may wait even longer due to the overcrowding in these facilities.
Some common surgeries may take longer before you get an appointment for the services; hence sometimes, you may need your medical insurance as an alternative to get the benefits from private hospitals.
Non-residents cannot qualify for public coverage; hence most use private services. This includes foreigners working in Hong Kong, tourists, Chinese from the mainland, those visiting, and any other person who does not have a Hong Kong identity card.
The cost of accessing medical services in public healthcare is constant regardless of the facility you visit. The HK hospital authority sets the costs, and all the public facilities must maintain the costs.
Despite public healthcare being cheap and affordable, there are also certain waivers offered to those who qualify. One of the waivers is the fee waiving mechanism. Those with financial difficulties who may not meet the medical payments can apply for medical fee waivers which allow them to pay meager costs or no cost.
Those suffering from certain diseases covered under the International Health Regulations can access free services if they visit public facilities and qualify for public medical services.
The public healthcare system does not cover all the medical costs and services. One of the things not covered by public services is dental care for emergency purposes.
You can access other services fast in case of emergency, but there is no public emergency for dental care. Other medical emergencies and maternity care will get an instant response and no need for queuing.
The private healthcare system complements the public and offers specialized services not offered in the public system. They provide a range of services slightly higher than those of the public hospitals. They mainly accept out-of-pocket payments and insurance coverage for those needing the services.
The rates in private healthcare systems vary depending on the condition, facility, and needed services.
Not all insurance coverage will apply in Hong Kong. If you are a tourist or visiting Hong Kong for a short while, you need international insurance covers offered by multinational companies.
However, if you plan to be in Hong Kong for a while, on a work visa, or for studies, you can use the local insurance coverages. You can seek different medical insurance coverage options in the country.
Hong Kong offers the best healthcare service at both private and public facilities. However, you must meet all the requirements before visiting the public facilities. Otherwise, private healthcare facilities are a good option if you have local or international insurance coverage.