Hong Kong is renowned for being the second most expensive country in the world for medical treatment and it is no surprise that Maternity (Pregnancy, Pre and Post Natal and Childbirth) also attracts very high medical bills. It is a consolation that in turn the medical treatment provided for expectant and new mothers is fantastic, and hospitals such as the Matilda Hospital on The Peak earn a well deserved reputation.
Medical Insurance Companies (also called Health Insurance Companies) ordinarily classify maternity in to two sub headings; Normal Pregnancy and Childbirth, and Complications of Pregnancy. The definitions of each do vary from insurer to insurer however generally applying the common sense approach to these definitions will guide you as to what would be considered a 'normal' pregnancy and childbirth and what would be considered complications of. I will come on to why this is relevant later in this article.
You may have heard the expression 'waiting period' applied to health insurance – this is the length of time one must be a client of an insurance company before certain plan benefits can be claimed against. The maternity provision of medical insurance (also referred to as health insurance) nearly always attracts a waiting period and the current lowest waiting period available on the market is 8 months with Globality DKV. A Plus (A+) also run a medical plan called Global 100 which has a low waiting period at 10 months. It should be noted here that in these two examples the waiting period relates to treatment, meaning (with Globality for example) that one could fall pregnant in month 1 of the policy and in month 9 the childbirth would be covered. This is rather different than the philosophy of some insurers who link the maternity waiting period to conception. For example, Aetna currently have a waiting period of 'conception 12 months' meaning an insured party could not claim for anything relating to a pregnancy or childbirth where the baby had been conceived within 12 months from the start of the insurance policy.
Now I have explained the difference between 'normal' pregnancy and 'complications' of pregnancy I want to link this to waiting periods to give some comfort to expectant mothers who have not yet purchased medical insurance. Some medical insurance companies are rather generous with their plan benefits and only apply their waiting period to 'normal' pregnancy and childbirth. The prime example of this is A Plus (A+) who provide up to US$16,200 per year per normal pregnancy and childbirth with a waiting period of 10 months, whilst coverage for complications of pregnancy begin the day you take out your insurance policy – an absolute must for expectant mothers who have no medical insurance. There are additional benefits that pregnant ladies can access with no waiting period, and I would urge you to read our articles named Congenital Conditions and New Born Cover for important examples of this.
In addition to the technical information contained here that is based around protection through insurance, there is a simple common sense reason for purchasing Medical Insurance with Maternity cover if you do plan on falling pregnant in Hong Kong. For ex-pats in Hong Kong, unless you are a full HK resident or national (not here on a working or dependent Visa) there is NO free medical treatment provision. Therefore, if even if you use Government Hospitals for your pregnancy and Childbirth you will be given a large bill – currently one can expect to spend between US$10,000 and US$15,000 in Hong Kong for a normal childbirth (not including pre and post natal services). Complications can run in to millions of US Dollars worth of treatment – all of which you will have to pay for yourself.
Therefore, consider this: Your medical insurance premium may be US$3,500 for a years worth of full cover including Maternity. You may need to be insured with the same company for two years to get through the waiting period allowing you to access the full maternity benefit, so let's say for example you spend US$7,000 on two years worth of medical insurance. If you go through a normal pregnancy and childbirth you will submit a total bill of anywhere between US$10,000 and US$20,000 to the insurance company including pre and post natal services. This means you have saved, in real terms anywhere between US$3,000 and US$13,000 just by taking out insurance. Food for thought isn't it? For more information and to explore your opportunity please do not hesitate to contact us using the contact information below.