Insurance Needs for Women at Every Stage of Life
14th September 2022
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Every woman is unique in her own way. From young adulthood through the golden years, different stages of life certainly call for different solutions as your needs, health, lifestyle, financial and family situation evolve.
At Alea, where 80% of our team are women, we are dedicated to bringing you the very best service and information, to feel empowered and get peace of mind, always. Let us walk you through some major milestones of life and the types of cover you need to remain covered no matter what you are up to.
Early stage of your career
Among the first things to look out for when you start working is to get insured with a health insurance policy. Inpatient and outpatient benefits are essential covers to take care of your medical expenses in case of any accidents or ailments, not to mention if you want to avoid the long waiting time at public hospitals – private healthcare in Hong Kong is considered the second most expensive in the world!
While many companies in Hong Kong offer employee medical insurance, they often come with sublimits and exclusions. Add-on items such as dental, maternity and optical benefits may not be offered, depending on your company’s HR policy.
Once you have established your financial stability, having an individual cover or top-up benefits of your own is a good backup plan to keep yourself protected regardless of your employment status.
➜ Expert tip: Lock in for a relatively low premium for your personal insurance when you are still young and healthy in case any pre-existing conditions arise in the future, resulting in exclusions in the future when you switch jobs.
Look for health checkup benefits!
Owing to biological differences, women are more prone to certain health risks than men, for instance, breast and cervical cancers, heart diseases, diabetes and urinary tract infections are some major illnesses that are largely treatable if detected early.
This is when regular health checkups step in. As a rule of thumb, women aged over 20 are recommended to get a mammogram and pap smear every 3 years; those over 40 should get a mammogram every year and a pap smear every 5 years.
In Hong Kong, body checks are only provided in private clinic settings and packages can cost from below HK$1,000 to over $10,000 depending on the included items.
➜ Expert tip: Health checkups are not always covered by your employee benefits, and many plans impose sublimits on the amount or frequency. Be sure to check your policy thoroughly before using the benefit.
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Planning for a family
Do you plan to get married and start a family? If the answer is yes, get ready for this new role in life by thinking ahead. Now that there is someone to care and be cared for, it’s time to reconsider the insurance plan for both of you – take into account your combined needs and budgets.
Is your work cover still sufficient? Does it cover maternity expenses? Can either of your work cover offer protection for your partner and children? And if you need extra protection, would a family plan be more affordable for you?
Childbirth, prenatal and postnatal cares in Hong Kong are highly affordable in public hospitals, but if you prefer to enjoy the services in a private setting, the overall cost can easily shoot up to over HK$100,000. With that in mind, it makes sense to get maternity cover if you plan to give birth in Hong Kong.
➜ Expert tip: Maternity insurance not only helps minimize your pregnancy-related expenses, but also opens the choice for you to use private care and avoid disproportionate waiting times at public hospitals. It ensures optimal recovery of the mother and the best quality of care for the infant.
Fertility treatment options
Nowadays, many couples prefer to delay their birth plan for various reasons, and for women who plan to have children later in life, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like IVF may be the best option to increase the success rate. However, these treatments are particularly costly, with a subsidized price of HK$10,000 to $24,500 via the public route and HK$80,000 to $150,000 per cycle via the private route.
➜ Expert tip: Fertility treatments are not covered by the vast majority of health insurance plans in Hong Kong but only a handful of high-end international plans under their maternity benefits. Such coverage often imposes a waiting period of 12 to 24 months and a reimbursement limit.
Children health insurance
With parenthood comes great responsibilities. Young children are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases, common colds, measles, chickenpox, conjunctivitis, just to name a few. You’ll want to make sure your little one is always on the safe side from day one since birth and to do so, you may either add your child to an existing health insurance plan (individual, family or group); or get a standalone child policy for your child.
➜ Expert tip: If you decide to cover your child through your work cover, beware of any exclusions and sublimits, also note that if your employment status changes, your child will lose coverage. Whereas in a standalone child policy, insurers can reject the application or impose exclusions or surcharges on your child’s pre-existing conditions.
Critical illness and life protection
Mortgage, rents, children’s education, car loan, living expenses… taking care of a family is no easy duty, more so when the financial burden adds up. Perhaps women’s income wasn’t considered a significant financial contribution to the family a century ago, but definitely not anymore in present times. Many women now fulfill both roles as a breadwinner and a caregiver, sharing equal, or even more responsibilities at home.
That's why women should consider protecting their children or loved ones against uncertainties with life and critical illness policies. With a life insurance policy, your family members will be paid an amount 10-15 times your annual income in the unfortunate event that you pass away. Critical illness protection, on the other hand, will provide a lump sum of money at least 6-12 times your monthly salary to cover your treatment costs and sustain the family’s living in the meantime.
➜ Expert tip: Life insurance premiums are generally cheaper for women, as females have fewer health risks and longer life expectancy than males on average. Besides, taking out life insurance when you are still young and healthy means lower premiums.
Planning for retirement
You’ve come a long way here. Your children (if you decided to have any) have grown up and are capable of making a living. Now it’s officially time to sit back and relax.
In the ideal case, you have repaid any outstanding loans and debts, and have your lifelong savings to sustain post-retirement life. At this point, the necessity of a life insurance policy (if you haven’t taken out one) declines but that for comprehensive health insurance protection is higher than ever, as health risks increase with age.
When you are working out your retirement plan, it is important to evaluate your financial situation, life insurance and critical illness protection, and above all, your medical insurance. Your employee benefits will cease when you retire and there’s a fair chance insurance companies may reject or impose exclusions and surcharges on applicants aged over 60. So make sure you retire with a sound health insurance plan that allows you to bypass the long waiting time in the public sector and opt for private services, which can cost a bundle if you are paying out-of-pocket.
The bottom line
There is no one-size-fits-all approach, so be sure to assess your own priorities and circumstances as they evolve. Wherever you are on your life journey, plan ahead with the right insurance for peace of mind. What’s left for you then, is to embrace the ebb and flow and enjoy life to its fullest!
Want to know more? Talk to us today. You’re in safe hands with Alea: 80% of our team are women like you, with years of insurance experience and a unique understanding of your needs.
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This article was independently written by Alea 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.