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Giving Birth and Maternity Insurance in Hong Kong
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Giving Birth and Maternity Insurance in Hong Kong

Giving Birth and Maternity Insurance in Hong Kong

Having a child can be one of the most exciting experiences to happen to a family, but it can also present an extremely daunting challenge.

Where is the best place to give birth, can we afford the costs of the delivery, will our new born infant have the care it needs if something happens? These are some of the many concerns that soon-to-be parents have all over the world.

Having a child is a life changing experience, and this is no different in Hong Kong than anywhere else around the world. However, there are a number of major issues which, while not unique to Hong Kong, should be understood for any families planning on having a child while in the city.

On this page we will tell you about the best maternity hospitals in Hong Kong, the various legislative reforms passed in recent years by the Hong Kong government in relation to pregnancy and maternity, and how you can ensure that your child is born with all the medical protection they may need.


Hong Kong Maternity Insurance Trends

Hong Kong can provide some of the highest quality medical services in the world. As such, any family planning on giving birth in the city can rest assured that any maternity hospital in Hong Kong will be able to give them the comprehensive care and support they need. However, it should be noted that, while the standard of maternity facilities in HKSAR is indeed extremely high, in recent years there has been an alarming trend constricting the ability of mothers in Hong Kong to properly access and utilize these facilities.

The primary reason for the current shortage in Hong Kong maternity services is largely due to a massive influx of Mainland Chinese mothers crossing over the border in order to give birth to their child in Hong Kong, and not the PRC. The causes of this trend are many, but can largely be attributed to two factors; Hong Kong’s Right of Abode legislation, and the People’s Republic of China’s One Child Policy.

Under Hong Kong law, any child born in the city is entitled to Right of Abode. This is, essentially, the right of the child to live and work in Hong Kong, free from any immigration constrictions which may otherwise apply to a foreign national in possession of a non-Hong Kong passport. A child with Hong Kong Right of Abode is legally allowed to receive free education in HKSAR, low cost subsidized medical services, and any other applicable social support and well-being initiatives currently enforced by the Hong Kong government.

The services provided by Hong Kong, such as education and healthcare, are generally of a much higher standard than those offered by the PRC. As such, many Mainland parents will view the option of having a child in Hong Kong as an “escape clause,” which will allow the infant a much better quality of life than they would have otherwise received in China; this creates an incentive for these prospective parents to cross the border specifically to give birth in Hong Kong.

The second reason for the prevalence of Chinese maternity tourists in Hong Kong is due to China’s One Child Policy, and the fact that this policy is not enforced in HKSAR. This means that Chinese parents wishing to have more than one child do so in Hong Kong because they are able to escape the fines and penalties associated with giving birth to a second infant which would otherwise have been levied on them in a province like Guangdong.

These two factors create an incentive for Chinese parents to use maternity services in Hong Kong, and these parents are doing so in ever increasing numbers. Recent statistics from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority have revealed that in 2010 approximately 46 percent of all births in the city were by Chinese nationals without residency in Hong Kong. This means that approximately 40,000 children were born to non-resident mothers during that year.

While this number is high, it is only set to increase with government officials projecting the number of mainland mothers set to give birth in Hong Kong will reach 92,000 in 2011 and 100,000 in 2012 – vastly outpacing the number of local residents starting families; births by local residents accounted for some 44,000 deliveries in 2010.

So what does this mean?

It means that the maternity services offered by Hong Kong Hospitals and medical facilities are dangerously close to becoming over burdened by the crippling patient load they currently have to deal with. The patient levels at both public and private maternity hospitals in Hong Kong means that there are simply not enough beds for local mothers who are soon to give birth.

As noted above, this is not only an issue at the city’s public healthcare institutions, although due to the low-cost nature of the public facilities these have been quicker to experience service shortages than their private counterparts. However, the fact that private hospitals are now also beginning to see a critical overload of maternity patients is a serious concern due to the free market nature of the private healthcare industry in Hong Kong.

More demand necessitates higher prices for services which are in limited supply. Hong Kong already has the second highest medical costs in the world, ranking just behind the USA, so an escalation of these already extreme costs will be a cause of alarm for many parents.


Maternity Costs In Hong Kong

Knowing that there is an ever increasing pressure on Hong Kong Maternity Hospitals the question should then be asked: How much does it actually cost to have a baby in Hong Kong?

The average cost of a routine delivery at the Matilda, Hong Kong’s premier Maternity Hospital, comes in around HK$ 66,300. However, this price does not reflect any individual treatment, attending doctor’s fees, type of hospital room, meals, or complications of the pregnancy. Realistically, the cost of having a baby at the Matilda hospital can be many times higher, skyrocketing in the event that the pregnancy experiences a complication, such as a medically necessary caesarian section.

The cost of an elective caesarian section at a Hong Kong private hospital will usually be in the range of HK$ 80,000. In fact, this is the figure which a number of Mainland maternity tourists have been quoted for a C-Section delivery package including Pre and Post natal Checkups, and a 3 night stay in the Hospital.

The issue of cost gets more complicated if the mother-to-be is not a Hong Kong Permanent Resident. In 2008 the Hong Kong Government passed a reform which placed mandatory pricing on maternity services for Non-Resident mothers in Hong Kong using government run public hospitals to deliver their child.

Non-resident mothers who have made a prior booking at a public maternity hospital in Hong Kong will be charged a mandatory fee of HK$ 39,000 for a basic three day, two night pregnancy package. Non-resident mothers who have not made a prior booking at a public hospital, but who may have experience an emergency situation or other contingency forcing them to “walk in” to the medical facility in question, are charged a mandatory fee of HK$ 48,000 for the same service.

However, with Medical Inflation in Hong Kong averaging around 15 percent per year, it can be expected that within 1 to 2 years that the cost of maternity treatment at the Matilda hospital will actually be closer to HK$ 76,000 – 80,000 with sharp increases after that. With private hospitals expected to charge much more for maternity services in the future it would be surprising if the public sector did not place a similar rate hike on maternity patients, but this would first have to be reviewed by the government.


Maternity Insurance in Hong Kong

Even with the various “low cost” public maternity services at Hong Kong Government Hospitals it can be seen that having a child in the city will cost a hefty sum of money. If you are not a Hong Kong Permanent resident your options with regards to low cost maternity services are severely curtailed. Even if you are a Hong Kong Permanent Resident then you may find yourself in stiff competition for the available maternity beds at public hospitals, which will more than likely necessitate your utilizing one of the city’s private hospitals in which to deliver your child.

At the end of the day, while the standards of treatment at Hong Kong’s medical facilities is extremely high, so are the costs. This is why we recommend that any families intending to have a child while in Hong Kong, whether foreign or local, should seriously consider obtaining a Hong Kong Maternity insurance plan in order to protect themselves from high fees.


Maternity Health Insurance Quote

If you would like to receive a free quote for one of the many Maternity Health Insurance coverage options we offer in Hong Kong please complete the form at the top of this page. Once we have the relevant details our advisors will provide you with the most comprehensive coverage comparison currently available within the Hong Kong insurance industry. We work with more insurance providers than any other Agent, Broker, or intermediary in Hong Kong, and can help to find you the perfect health insurance coverage. For more information contact a Hong Kong Health Insurance Broker.

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