Projected Changes in Hong Kong Healthcare in Relation to COVID-19
Several vaccines have been approved and it’s only a matter of time before it’s administered to Hong Kong residents.
The Hong Kong government plans to provide free coronavirus vaccines for all its residents as stated by Health Secretary Sophia Chan last December 2nd while the country experiences the 4th wave of infections.
Who will get it first?
Sec. Chan told the Legislative Council that vaccines will be administered first to three million volunteers who are considered most at-risk or vulnerable– which includes public medical workers, patients with chronic diseases and the elderly.
One important note to remember is that Hong Kong residents will have to regularly receive COVID-19 vaccines annually which means the healthcare system will have to adjust to this demand. Here are the changes we think we could see next year:
- Fast-tracked Healthcare Reform
China has been revamping its health system since 1996 but the outbreak slowed down their target of reaching the deadline this year. However, plans and pivots have been made as the virus wanes and vaccines are approved
Fast reforms are expected to be implemented in areas such as:
– Strengthening of the primary care system and integration with public health crisis management system
– Sustainability and affordability of social medical insurance funds that involves price control through national acquirement and negotiation on medicines, devices and high-value consumables.
– Public hospital reform with the objective to increase efficiency
– Increase in salary and compensation packages for hospital healthcare staff
- Digitized Health Insurance
Public hospitals were slow in providing online healthcare before Covid-19 but this will likely change in the coming year. With the potential new policy to incorporate online healthcare services into the social medical insurance payment system, public hospitals will be presented with incentives to allow more digital healthcare services to patients. This opens up plenty of opportunity for collaborations between public hospitals and internet companies that offer insurance online. Simultaneously, this will create new hurdles (as well as opportunities) for pharmaceutical and devices companies on marketing and sales strategies.
- More global insurance players will be let in the country
The healthcare insurance market will be further opened to international enterprises and constraints on new healthcare insurance products are expected to be progressively lifted. Expat families and individuals who are living in Hong Kong will have more options as a result.
Many insurance companies in Hong Kong have already launched healthcare cover innovations specifically for Covid-19 protection such as Pilot’s Income Protection Insurance and Hong Kong AXA’s enhanced coverage products.
It’s worth looking at one’s current insurance plan to make the necessary changes to ensure that all bases are covered.
Need help finding business and personal insurance in Hong Kong? We assist expats find the best covers.