Anyone who has given birth in Hong Kong will no doubt have many stories to tell about the exorbitant fees that might be charged in private hospitals. This city is known for its efficient public health care, but many local citizens and expats alike often prefer the superior quality of treatment provided in private hospitals. In order to seek care in private hospitals without breaking the bank, many expectant couples and mothers-to-be are securing private maternity insurance to offset the costs of giving birth.
Giving birth in Hong Kong is expensive
The costs of giving birth in Hong Kong can be mind-bogglingly expensive, and at many private hospitals is comparable to, or even more expensive than, giving birth in the US. Even giving birth in subsidised government hospitals can be expensive, especially if you are deemed to be part of the “non-eligible persons” category, which applies to any one who is not a valid holder of a Hong Kong Identity Card.
According to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, those belonging to this category can easily rack up costs of up to HKD 90,000. Those opting for maternity packages in private hospitals will easily see their costs go up to HKD 200,000 with a private room, and this figure can increase even more depending on a range of factors, such as whether the baby is delivered through a natural or cesarean birth.
Prices advertised at private hospitals often don’t include a number of expenses that can drive up the costs by anywhere from 50% – 300%. These include: doctor’s fees, meals, the cost of epidural analgesia, etc. Most people won’t be able to afford these charges, which is why they purchase maternity insurance.
What exactly does maternity insurance in Hong Kong cover?
There are no standalone maternity insurance policies, and plans will always include other benefits such as hospitalisation or outpatient consultations. What this means is that if you want to secure maternity coverage, you are going to also need to take out medical insurance. With plans that offer maternity coverage you can expect them to cover:
- Pre-natal and post-natal care
- Cesarean costs
- Normal delivery
- Hospital or home delivery costs
- Delivery following fertility treatment
Those who opt for more comprehensive plans will also receive coverage for:
- Delivery with complications
- Congenital birth defects
- Extended care for newborns
- Fertility treatments
In Hong Kong, maternity insurance is seen as an anti-selection benefit. This means that people usually purchase maternity coverage when they are planning for a baby, and will drop it after the baby is born. Because of anti-selection, insurance providers are faced with high payout costs, so they counter this by placing waiting periods on the benefit.
There will be a waiting period
Anyone purchasing maternity coverage will be faced with a waiting period (otherwise known as moratorium period). This waiting period, which usually lasts 10 – 12 months, will tell you how long you will need to wait for before you are entitled to make any maternity-related claims.
This policy is in place because it protects insurance companies from losing too much on instant claims fees. This means that anyone who wants to enjoy the benefits provided by maternity insurance are advised secure this coverage well in advance, ideally before the baby is conceived.
However, if you purchased your maternity coverage after you have conceived and still want to seek some form of protection, it is still possible to receive the New Born Child benefit. The waiting period on the New Born Child benefit will usually be much shorter, in some cases as short as 6 months from the start of your plan.
This will protect you from any costs associated with your newborn’s medical cover from birth, and they will be able to receive medical care up to a predetermined time or financial limit. To ensure that you receive the level of coverage you desire, it is therefore highly recommended that you read through all the policy details or talk to an insurance advisor like Pacific Prime Hong Kong.
If you are looking for the best maternity insurance plans on the market, why not visit Pacific Prime Hong Kong Global Health insurance page to check out your plan today? Their team of experienced insurance advisors can offer a wealth of experience that you can rely on.