Newborn Baby Health Insurance in Hong Kong: All You Need to Know
6 December 2021
You’re expecting. Congratulations! Now what? You probably want to ensure your newborn child gets the best healthcare possible. Health insurance coverage will protect you against all the costs associated with your child’s medical treatments as soon as they are born. Our team at Alea has a wealth of experience in guiding families through the process of choosing the right baby health insurance, and these are some of the options.
Newborn health coverage via the VHIS option is limited
The Hong Kong public healthcare system is known for its high quality and efficient medical services that can be used by eligible residents at a very low fee. Since services and procedures are offered at such low cost, public medical providers face a number of growing challenges such as overcrowding and extensive waiting times.
To ease a massive burden on public hospitals, the government unveiled in April 2019 a new Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) that is meant to provide lifelong health coverage for newborns. While VHIS plans may come across as appealing (premiums can be as low as HK$2,000 per year), they impose serious limits such as the exclusion of congenital illnesses.
How to get newborn health insurance coverage in Hong Kong?
When it comes to obtaining health coverage for a newborn, make sure you read the fine print as all insurance providers operate differently. Some will allow the inclusions of your infant in your insurance plan for free while others will increase the annual premium you pay. Plus, some insurers impose special restrictions on newborns that were conceived through IVF.
Adding your newborn to a health insurance coverage can happen in one of the following ways:
1) If you already have personal international health insurance
First option, you are covered for maternity in your international health insurance coverage. This is the most desirable situation for you and your baby as you will be covered in case of complications related to childbirth. You can also ensure that your baby is covered from his date of birth onwards by adding him/her to the mother’s policy within 30 to 90 days (the deadline varies per insurer) after the birth. In this case, your child is added to the policy with MHD (medical history disregard) with a possibility to cover congenital conditions. This is extremely important as it means your child is covered for pre-existing conditions at birth.
Second option, one of the parents has an international plan that has been effective for more than 12 months without a maternity option. With some insurers, you can add your infant to your health insurance plan with MHD (medical history disregard) as well — that is your child can be added from his/her first date of birth or at a pro-rata premium (from the date of birth to the parent’s policy renewal date). Take note that for most insurers, your child needs to be covered under the exact same benefits as the parent.
Many parents wonder whether maternity benefits cover newborn care. This varies a lot. A good rule of thumb is that all baby care that is part of your Maternity Hospital Package is covered by maternity benefits. However, not all insurers will reimburse items that are not included in your hospital package. For example, the pediatrician’s hospital consultations. While some plans, such as April International, cover these doctor fees under maternity benefits and until the baby is discharged from the hospital, other products, such as Cigna Global, require that you add the child to your policy in order to claim pediatrician fees following childbirth.
Lastly, complications of childbirth can easily escalate to HK$300,000+ in Hong Kong private hospitals. It is important to double-check the cover for this. The vast majority of maternity benefits cover complications of pregnancy in full (100% up to your overall annual limit) for both mother and child and this until discharge.
2) If you have health insurance through work
Most large companies in Hong Kong provide health coverage to employees and their dependents. You should always check with your HR whether children are covered. If indeed your employee's health insurance covers kids, then you can add your child to your policy within a certain delay.
While your employer pays the premium for your child, it is important to note that congenital conditions are usually excluded and that the plan’s benefits may be insufficient. Furthermore, if you leave your job, your child will lose coverage. This can be a problem if your child has pre-existing conditions or is undergoing medical treatment.
3) What if I don’t have any health insurance?
In Hong Kong, there are very few insurance providers that offer stand-alone child coverage — an insurance product that is purchased by one of the parents to cover the child only. While one parent is the policy holder, the child’s health and medical expenses are covered. Stand-alone child policies are available for children from birth to 18 years old, but pre-existing medical conditions will come into play, meaning that any conditions that occurred before the starting date of the policy may be excluded or give rise to a premium surcharge. Moreover, congenital conditions are generally excluded. Only April, Cigna and AXA provide this option.
You can learn more about stand-alone child policy premiums by reading our Expert Guide to Children Health Insurance in Hong Kong.
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How much does newborn insurance cost in Hong Kong?
It is important to know that for most insurance providers, premiums for stand-alone child policies don’t really vary depending on the age of the child (being a newborn or teenager). Annual premiums for comprehensive stand-alone policies for children from birth to 18 vary between HK$15,000 and HK$35,000 for inpatient and outpatient coverage that would reimburse you in full (100%) for private medical fees in Hong Kong.
Contact our expert team for more information.
What to keep in mind before childbirth
1) Look for your insurance as soon as possible
It is always a good idea to start looking for maternity coverage before you give birth so that your newborn baby is covered from Day 1. It’s never nice to see unexpected expenses because pediatrician fees are not reimbursed.
As you can see, there are multiple options to insure your baby during pregnancy or even after birth.
2) Choosing the right insurance
Choosing carefully your newborn insurance is essential. It enables your baby to receive high-quality protection as soon as he is born. It ensures that he can get the best healthcare if he suffers from congenital conditions or other medical concerns. It also gives you options in choosing private hospitals, in addition to public ones where waiting times are much higher.
To add a newborn to a policy, you generally need to submit the birth certificate to the insurer or fill in a form. Application period can vary from an insurer to another: Passport Card requests to be informed within three months from birth whereas ALC requests 30 days.
3) What about IVF babies?
Some insurers have special restrictions on children who were conceived through IVF. They may not grant MHD (medical history disregard) or cover complications of pregnancy. It is always best to verify the terms of your insurance contract with an advisor.
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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.