Public Hospitals in Hong Kong: How much does it cost?
To go private or public in Hong Kong is a personal decision and each has its advantages and inconveniences. The main advantage of going public in Hong Kong is its affordability. Public sector fees are extremely low compared to Hong Kong private sector fees which are considered the second most expensive in the world after the USA.
To better understand your options and public health hospital/clinic costs in Hong Kong, AD MediLink brings you a comprehensive guide to Hospital Authority fees and charges.
How are Hong Kong’s public hospitals prices decided?
The Hospital Authority (HA) is managing all public sector clinics and hospital fees and charges in Hong Kong. 6% of Hong Kong’s GDP is dedicated to health expenditure, which is much lower than any other jurisdictions but this is likely to go up due to the ageing population.
In 2017 the fees and charges were increased in order to:
○ Discourage less urgent patients to go to public Accident & Emergency departments;
○ Promote appropriate use of service;
○ Lift the financial burden of the public sector.
There are 3 sets of charges and fees in the public sector:
1. Charges for eligible persons;
2. Charges for non-eligible persons;
3. Private charges (for eligible and non-eligible persons).
What are the criteria of eligibility?
Patients at Hospital Authority are divided into 2 categories:
1. Public charges – Eligible Persons (holders of HKID)
This refers to:
○ Holders of a Hong Kong Identity Card (HKID) issued under the Registration of Persons Ordinance (Chapter 177),
○ Hong Kong permanent residents,
○ Children who are Hong Kong residents and under 11 years old,
○ Other persons approved by the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority.
2. Public charges – Non-eligible Persons (non-holders of a HKID)
Non-eligible persons refer to non-permanent residents.
This refers to:
○ Persons not holding a Hong Kong Identity Card,
○ Chinese mainland residents,
○ Tourists travelling in Hong Kong.
How much does it cost?
1. Hong Kong’s public charges for eligible persons
For persons eligible for public charges, it is likely that for most cases insurance will not be necessary, as the prices charged are relatively low. The issue with the public system is that it runs on a first-come first-served basis, and due to the lack of medical staff, regardless of what service you are in need of, there will likely be a long waiting time. Depending on the demand some common surgical procedures can take from 8 up to 30 months to operate.
In consideration of the pricing alone, with the prices being so low, if you only or primarily use the public sector, there would be no need for health insurance.
For details click here.
2. Hong Kong’s public charges for non-eligible persons
For non-eligible persons, the prices in the public sector are very similar to the private sector. If you are in this category, purchasing health insurance is recommended.
For details, click here.
3. Hong Kong’s private charges (for both eligible and non-eligible persons)
This is little known but a private route exists within the public sector. This may include charges for domestic services, catering and general nursing, core pathology investigations, catering. For newborns, private charges cover basic examination by obstetricians, basic immunization and injections.
Patients with a referral letter from private medical practitioners or discharged from private wards and attending designated private specialist outpatient sessions will be charged private outpatient consultation fees as follows:
○ For initial consultation HK$790 – HK$2,210
○ For each subsequent follow up consultation HK$640 – HK$1,990
The private services provided by the Hospital Authority include:
1. Diagnostic/therapeutic procedures
3. Pathology Services
4. Radiology Services
5. Rehabilitation and Outreach Services
For further information on each service, click here.
Patients suffering from or suspected to be suffering from the diseases specified under the prevailing International Health Regulations (IHR), and admitted to a public hospital will not be charged for medical treatment or maintenance. Find the specified list of diseases under IHR of the World Health Organisation here.
4. Other fees in Hong Kong’s public hospitals and clinics
For persons accompanying a patient and occupying a bed, the following daily maintenance fee will apply:
○ Eligible persons:
(i) Acute general beds: $120
(ii) Convalescent/Rehabilitation, Infirmary and Psychiatric beds: $100
○ Non-eligible persons: $810
Dental treatments are only provided in private office. Public sector only takes care of patients in need of emergency dental treatments or dental treatments as an essential part of their medical treatment. In addition to maintenance and/or attendance fees, patients will have to pay for prosthetic appliances at a charge to be determined by the dental officers of the hospital/clinic.
Having difficulties making up your mind? Please take a look at our article about whether you need health insurance in Hong Kong.
Looking for health insurance with expert advice? Contact AD MediLink now at email@example.com 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.
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.