Hong Kong public enthused by health scheme

February 20 2019 by Andrew Tjaardstra

As Hong Kong’s government prepares to launch its Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme on April 1, a survey by Axa Hong Kong has found 82% of respondents are considering participating in the scheme.

27% of the respondents said that their likely participation is “extremely high” and “very likely” as they look forward to take advantage of tax rebates and reduced premiums.

The maximum premium limit for tax deductions per year is calculated on a per-insurer basis, with HK$8,000 (US$1200) being the maximum tax reduction each year.

However it still remains to be seen exactly how many insurers will participate in the scheme with submissions open for approval since December 1.

The public are looking forward to “no limit on lifetime cumulative claim amount” the most, followed by coverage extension to unknown pre-existing medical condition. Furthermore, 21% of the respondents expressed they had been rejected insurance in the past as they had a pre-existing condition.

Dr. Alexander Chiu, media, medical and employee welfare business of Axa Hong Kong and Macau, which is participating in the scheme said: “The public has a high demand for expanding protection on ‘unknown pre-existing medical condition’ and ‘existing chronic illness’. Axa Hong Kong began to make innovative changes in our underwriting last year to expand the scope of protection to the three most common chronic diseases.”

The insurer commissioned research firm Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey of 1,000 people in Hong Kong aged 18 or above in January this year.