Cancer Treatment in Hong Kong: Public vs. Private and Costs

According to data from the Department of Health, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Hong Kong for the past two decades. Being diagnosed with cancer is a serious issue. It should be treated as soon as possible before it further grows and spreads. AD MediLink provides you with this guide, which includes all the information about cancer treatment options in Hong Kong.

 

Cancer Statistics in Hong Kong

Data from the Department of Health shows that in 2019, cancer represented more than 30% of deaths in Hong Kong. Around 195 people (out of every 100,000 population) died of cancer that year. The number is alarming because it has been increasing, from 169 per 100,000 people in 2001.

The Hong Kong Cancer Registry under the Hospital Authority presents the 5 most common cancer types in 2017:

1. Colorectal Cancer

2. Lung Cancer

3. Breast Cancer

4. Prostate Cancer

5. Liver Cancer

According to 2017 data from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, while breast cancer mostly affected women (especially among the ages of 20 to 74), colorectal cancer and lung cancer were the top 2 cancers for men (especially from the age of 45).

Most new cases of cancer in 2017 found in both genders aged from 0 to 19 were caused by Leukemia.

You can visit this website to know more about the key figures of cancer in Hong Kong, as well as the biology of cancer.

 

Cancer Treatment Costs in Hong Kong’s Public Sector

Important: there are three types of fees and charges within the public sector. Generally, public hospitals charge much cheaper than private ones.

Public Charges – Eligible Persons (Hong Kong residents with a valid Hong Kong identity card):

Inpatient: HKD120 per day
General Outpatient: HKD50 per attendance
Day Procedure and Treatment at Clinical Oncology Clinic: HKD96 per attendance
Drugs: General drugs for free; special drugs are charged at HKD15 per unit for each drug; self-financed drugs are charged at cost plus an HKD105 administrative charge per drug item dispensed

Public Charges – Non-eligible Persons:

Inpatient: HKD5,100 per day
General Outpatient: HKD445 per attendance
Day Procedure and Treatment at Clinical Oncology Clinic: HKD895 per attendance

Private Charges:

There are private services available in the public sector. Every public hospital has private rooms available, but there are only a few. This means that you may not be able to have access to a private room. Private room costs within public hospitals vary from one hospital to another and are similar to private sector hospitals.

For details, please call the Hospital Authority at 2300 6555.

* Beware that due to the large number of patients handled in the public sector, there may be long delays to start cancer treatment. In the past years, there have been several publicised cases of cancer patients who could not rapidly get treated in Hong Kong’s public hospitals.

* All amounts were last updated on 23 September, 2020. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.

 

Cancer Treatment Costs in Hong Kong’s Private Sector

Currently, there are 12 private hospitals in Hong Kong. For general outpatient service, they might charge anywhere between HKD180 to HKD800 per attendance. In specialist clinics inside the hospitals (such as Oncology Clinic), you might need to pay HKD540 to HKD2,000 each attendance for doctor’s consultation only.

There was a case in which a patient was charged HKD160,000 for a seven-day treatment, plus HKD37,800 every month for medications.

Chemotherapy treatment can reach as much as HKD700,000 in the most expensive private hospitals.

In the past 2 years, the average cost of cancer treatment in Hong Kong was about USD81,000 (around HKD628,000) per treatment. Our exclusive research conducted with healthcare and insurance providers showed an ongoing case reaching USD800,000 (about HKD6,200,600) in cancer treatment costs in Hong Kong so far.

You can check out the room rates through our guide to Hong Kong’s 12 private hospitals, and here is a useful guide to oncologists (cancer specialists) in Hong Kong.

We have prepared a useful summary for you to check the details of the respective clinic/department/centre of the hospitals regarding their charges:

* It is very important to keep in mind that in Hong Kong, private medical fees are not subject to regulation or standardisation.

* All amounts were last updated on 23 September, 2020. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.

 

Need Health Insurance?

 

Public vs Private: How to Choose?

When deciding to choose whether the public or private sector, there are few things to consider:

1. Cost – As shown above, it is significantly higher in the private sector.

2. Waiting time – You can expect to wait much longer in public hospitals than the private ones.

3. Service – While doctors and medical staff in both sectors are qualified and well-trained, private hospitals usually offer a variety of packages to improve patients’ experience and comfort level during their stays.

4. Freedom of choice – In the private sector, you can choose the doctor and hospital you prefer; whereas for the public sector, you must seek treatments in your cluster, the doctors and nurses on call on the day of your treatment will be at your service.

You have the complete freedom to decide which sector to choose. However, in order to be treated for such an unpredictable disease in the fastest time possible, getting yourself health insurance is recommended, so that the private sector can become an option for you if an urgent treatment is needed.

 

Are Cancer Treatment Costs Covered by Insurance?

Cancer surgeries are usually reimbursed under hospital/surgical benefits whereas chemotherapy/radiation therapies are usually reimbursed under cancer cover. Generally, high-end medical plans will reimburse cancer treatments in full without any sub-limit whereas local plans will have sub-limits. Our team has unique expertise and extensive experience in medical insurance, both with local and international plans, for individuals, families and companies.  If you want to check your current coverage, improve or have any insurance questions, contact an AD MediLink expert here or by email at hello@admedilink.hk.

Looking for unbiased advice? Contact AD MediLink now at hello@admedilink.hk or +852 2606 2668 to receive a free quote. Advisors uniquely trained on the Hong Kong healthcare system will be in touch to answer all your enquiries concerning both the public and private sectors.

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This article was independently written by AD MediLink and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.