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Section 1: Introduction
Section 2: Hong Kong Health Insurance Benefits
Section 3: Hong Kong Health Insurance Services
Section 4: International Health Insurance Benefits
Section 5: Health Insurance Premiums
Section 6: Conclusion

Traditionally a preferred option of individual expatriates, Global Health Insurance benefits have gained in popularity amongst companies not only employing expat staff, but also with senior executive local nationals that  carry out overseas assignments or feel local benefit levels do not reflect their medical needs.

With significantly higher benefits and the freedom to choose a medical treatment facility anywhere in the World, International Health Insurance has always been a tempting alternative to the local national health care plans.

In Hong Kong, European style products have been made available to companies, perhaps another British colonial influence.  Although providing a Full Cover payment for inpatient and outpatient medical costs, they have traditionally been of a reactive insurance style, only making payments in the event of a covered injury or illness and have also included significant exclusions within policy wordings relating to congenital, hereditary, chronic and terminal conditions.

Recent years have seen a more proactive health management style be introduced to policies with the inclusion of wellbeing, health check and vaccination benefits coupled with access to chronic condition management and hospice care.

2009 also saw the launch of two Americanized products in Hong Kong for the first time, with Aetna Global Benefits and Cigna International opening their doors to the local market and bringing with them increased benefits which include as standard; congenital, hereditary, chronic and terminal condition cover, cover for pre-existing medical condition and a suite of wellness programs to cater for high flying executives.

The following table includes details of the standard cover included with three of the major international health insurance plans available to companies in Hong Kong.

  GH - IHP INTERGLOBAL CIGNA INTERNATIONAL
Currency US$ US$ US$
Annual Limit 1,600,000 3,400,000 7,500,000
In Patient (Hospitalization) Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
Out Patient (GP, Clinic, Specialists) Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
Organ Transplant Full Cover 425,000 Full Cover
Oncology Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
Chronic Conditions Acute Full Cover Palliative 15,000 Acute Full Cover Palliative 102,000 lifetime Full cover
In-patient Psychiatric Treatment Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
Hormone Replacement Therapy Full Cover up to 18 months 255 Full Cover
Traditional Chinese Medicine 30 per session
up to 10 sessions
3,400 Full Cover
Home Nursing Full Cover 8,500 Full Cover
Annual Medical Check-ups No Cover 850 450
Vaccinations No Cover Full Cover
Congenital Conditions No Cover No Cover Full Cover
Hereditary Conditions No Cover No Cover Full Cover
Emergency Dental Treatment Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
DENTAL
Routine Dental Treatment 700
With co-insurance
1,275
With co-insurance
  3,000
With co-insurance  
Major Dental Treatment 1,500   
With co-insurance
Dental Waiting Period 9 Months 6 Months No Waiting
MATERNITY
Complications to Pregnancy Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
Routine Maternity 10,000 8,500
 
SERVICES
Emergency Evacuation Full Cover Full Cover Full Cover
Administration Centre Hong Kong UK Hong Kong
Claims Handling Out-patient Direct Billing Pay & Claim Direct Billing
Online Claims No No Yes
 

International Private Medical Insurers have also been quicker to adapt their terms to market demands influenced by global events and circumstances.  Many have loosened their stance on war and terrorism and with the outbreak of H1N1, companies like Cigna International and Aetna Global Benefits have indicated coverage for H1N1 vaccinations under their standard group plans.

Whether it is COBRA compliance, Australian Medicare compatibility, or tailored benefit schedules specific to the demographic of a company’s employees; group health insurance purchasers now have greater choice in the market and have the ability to adapt their insurance purchase to their needs.