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Hong Kong’s Healthcare System and Medical Legislation

Hong Kong is able to offer some of the highest quality medical services in the world. The city offers both public and private medical options which you can use to receive treatment.

On this page we will outline the differences between the Public and Private medical services in the city, any legislation which you should be aware of, and the state on ongoing Hong Kong Healthcare reforms.


Public Healthcare Services

Hong Kong has a myriad of high quality public medical facilities, including out-patient clinics and hospitals.

Some of these hospitals are Teaching institutions, like the Queen Mary in Pokfulam. Others are centered on specific services, such as the Baptist Maternity Hospital. All of the public hospitals in Hong Kong are able to provide patients a superior standard of medical care year round.

Public healthcare facilities in Hong Kong are run through the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, and are able to offer low-cost subsidized medical services to HKSAR Nationals and Permanent Residents. While you do not have to be a Hong Kong National or Permanent Resident to use these facilities, you will have to pay for the full cost of any treatment you receive if you are not.

However, if you are a HKSAR national or permanent resident it is actually possible to lower the overall cost of treatment for services received at these facilities if you elect to pay for the cost of your care via an Octopus Card. If you pay for healthcare at a Hong Kong government run hospital you may be able to receive a discount on your bill for as much as 20 percent of the total cost of treatment.

It is important to note that Octopus Payment Discounts may not be available at all public medical facilities in Hong Kong. Please check with the medical facility you are using to see if they offer this payment option.

While government run hospitals in Hong Kong can provide care equal to the levels of service available in the private sector, it should be noted that there is often a large amount of bureaucratic red tape which accompanies treatment at these locations. This is especially true if you are not a Hong Kong Permanent Resident.

Additionally, due to the growth of Hong Kong’s population over the last decade, many public medical facilities in the city are now starting to experience a severe constraint in the availability of services which they offer. Overburdened by a large number of new Hong Kong residents and overseas healthcare tourists, often from China, the spaces available at many public hospitals in Hong Kong are shrinking rapidly; especially with regards to Maternity.

Please see Hong Kong Maternity Insurance Concerns for additional information on this topic.


Private Healthcare Services

In addition to the plentiful Public Medical Facilities in Hong Kong, the city also has a host of world class private clinics and hospitals, such as the Matilda, Adventist, or the Central Health Medical practice.

There are 12 private hospitals in Hong Kong, and many more private medical clinics. All of the city’s private hospitals have been accredited by the United Kingdom’s Trent Accreditation Scheme as being able to provide superior quality medical services.

There are no special restrictions on an individual’s ability to seek treatment at a private hospital in Hong Kong other than having the means to pay for the cost of their healthcare; either out-of-pocket or via private Hong Kong Health Insurance. The cost of treatment at private Hong Kong Hospitals is on par with Hospitals in the USA and Israel, and can be highly expensive.

Please see The Cost of Healthcare in Hong Kong for additional information about the pricing for various treatments at these facilities.

Private Hospitals usually have more beds available for patients than the Public sector healthcare facilities in Hong Kong, primarily due to the much higher costs of treatment. However, the services of these facilities are often more akin to a 5 star hotel than a typical hospital.


Hong Kong Healthcare Reforms

Since late 2008 the Hong Kong Government has been debating a number of legislative proposals which would help to alleviate the financial and patient burdens of the HKSAR public healthcare system.

With a growing population and increasing numbers of foreign medical tourists electing to use the city’s public hospitals and medical clinics in ever higher numbers, many hospitals are facing restrictions on the resources they have available to properly treat patients.

At present the leading proposal is for the HKSAR to promote an incentive which would hopefully see more Hong Kong residents purchase medical insurance on an individual basis. As Hong Kong’s population continues to age, the government, Hospital Authority, and Food and Health Bureau have agreed, in conjunction with private medical insurance providers, to create a public health insurance subsidy.

While only applicable to 500,000 “high risk” Hong Kong residents, there is a high chance that such a scheme could be applied on a wider basis in the future.


Hong Kong Health Insurance Quote

If you would like to learn more about the healthcare system in Hong Kong or any major legislative changes to the public healthcare system which have been enacted recently, please contact one of our Dedicated Advisors who would be happy to assist you.

Alternatively, you can also receive a free quote for a private health insurance plan for Hong Kong which would cover the cost of treatment at any of the city’s medical facilities by filling in the short form at the top of this page.

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