The long-awaited health care reform is still under debate, the government tends to sell idea to the public that buying cheap health insurance, it was envisaged private hospitals would offer fixed-price packages for treating common conditions.

Source: The Standard Finance

In Hong Kong, the proposed voluntary health-care insurance scheme could see people barred from buying cheaper medical insurance offering less coverage than the stipulated minimum requirement, the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers warned.

The price range of the suggested scheme may vary as widely as from an 8 percent discount to a 52 percent surge compared with costs of private health insurance currently available, federation chairman Jimmy Poon Wing-fai said.

A government consultant said the price rise would be less than 10 percent or HK$300, Poon noted.

The proposed scheme aims to secure health coverage for a large proportion of the population including high-risk groups that may not have access to such insurance at the moment. It also aims to ease the pressure on the public health system.

Government estimates show that about HK$70 million can be saved in 25 years upon the launch of the scheme. Public consultation on the proposal has been delayed and is expected to launch in October.

If people are barred from buying cheaper insurance, they may turn to mainland insurance firms that already provide lower-cost plans, Poon said.

He suggested that insurers be allowed to provide cheaper plans with fewer benefits than stipulated.

Chief executive Peter Tam Chung-ho stressed that the federation supports the introduction of the scheme, but “minor adjustments” are needed.

Other suggestions include a more transparent pricing plan at private hospitals, so that consumers can get a better idea of hospitalization costs and their medical insurance needs.

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