Living Here Living In Hong Kong

Do you need international private medical insurance?

Hong Kong offers great healthcare – public hospitals provide full services, from emergency treatments to inpatient facilities, and the private system is world-class. While having international medical insurance isn’t essential, International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) policies ensure you’re covered for all eventualities – at home and abroad. We asked the team at Cigna Global, a specialist in expat healthcare, to explain some of the reasons why an expat should choose an IPMI.

An International Private Medical Insurance policy can cover all eventualities for expats
An International Private Medical Insurance policy can cover all eventualities for expats

1. It makes hospital care more affordable

Hong Kong’s healthcare system is good. Doctors undertake rigorous training that is on par with what medical professionals receive in Western countries; they must keep up-to-date with current research and practices, have clinical audits, and continue their education. Private hospitals in Hong Kong are available to those with health insurance but many don’t offer long-term or chronic care. Public hospitals are very expensive without a Hong Kong ID card (which you can apply for after staying for more than 180 days), and often require you to pay cash. International Private Medical Insurance can help cover that expense.

2. It gives you worldwide coverage

Globally mobile citizens often require an international plan to cover them in the many countries they frequent. Some expats leave home with travel insurance in place, but the problem with travel policies is that these are designed for short stays, and cover only for medical emergencies. International Private Medical Insurance policies are also a great help against the language barrier. Understanding your policy documentation and being able to talk to a customer service representative is vital when dealing with your health queries. Many expats are more comfortable with an international health insurance company that offers support in English or another familiar language.

3. It makes up for gaps in your company health insurance plan

Your move to Hong Kong might coincide with a new job package – complete with company health care coverage. Yet with such policies, it’s often the needs of the organisation rather than the individual employee that are prioritised. Does the package include family coverage? Are pre-existing conditions covered? An International Private Medical Insurance plan can be ideal for filling in the gaps.

4. It allows for International Medical Evacuation

International Medical Evacuation provides coverage for reasonable transportation costs to the nearest centre of medical excellence in the event that the treatment is not available locally in an emergency. This option also includes repatriation coverage, allowing you to get back home if necessary. This benefit can also include the cost of flying a loved one over to provide you with support.

5. International Private Medical Insurance plans are flexible

An IPMI policy usually allows you to choose a plan to accommodate particular needs. Benefits vary from supplier to supplier, but they can include unlimited annual benefit limits, inpatient care, day-patient care, cancer care and maternity care. Cigna Global offers packages specifically designed for expats, with flexible, tailored plans with three distinct levels of cover, and five optional additional benefits, including outpatient care, medical evacuation, and vision and dental care. Full cancer care is included as standard in Cigna Global plans, and the top two levels of cover include maternity benefits.

For more information or to get a free, no-obligation quote, visit

This article first appeared in the Apr/May edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!

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