Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in your life. However, like all expectant mothers you are right to be worried about the cost of childbirth.
In Hong Kong, the cost of vaginal childbirth at regular room rates can be anywhere from HK$70,000–$100,000 whereas a C-section in a private room may even exceed HK$250,000. The rates include hospital charges and doctor’s fees of course. But since there are so many variables in childbirth, it is difficult to be prepared for the exact costs in advance.
Maternity insurance is therefore vital in Hong Kong if you are planning for private hospital delivery.
What does a maternity insurance policy cover?
Maternity insurance in Hong Kong is a special insurance that is added to one’s standard medical plan. That is, it is combined with inpatient coverage or inpatient+outpatient coverage. This additional pregnancy coverage helps expectant mothers from childbirth costs and pre/post natal care. The expenses typically covered include:
- Prenatal/Postnatal care
- Vaginal delivery
- Medically advised C-section
- Elective C-section(not included in all maternity plans)
- Complications arising during childbirth
- Pain management charges
- In hospital pediatrician fees
Some more exhaustive plans may also provide coverage for:
- Fertility treatments
- Additional midwife services
- Prenatal classes
- Congenital birth deficiency and special neonatal care
It is worth noting, however, that if you hold an HKID then pre and postnatal care is completely subsidised in public sector and usually provided by the Maternal and Child Health Care Centre of each Cluster.
If you are planning to use private hospitals for pre and postnatal care, and childbirth, then you have to plan seriously for insurance, much in advance.
Maternity waiting period
Typically, one can’t buy pregnancy insurance if one is pregnant while applying. Most private insurance plans have imposed a “maternity waiting period”. You can’t claim for maternity expenses during this waiting time.
Maternity waiting period is applicable on individual health insurance or even employer’s insurance policies. These are more common for some of the smaller companies, while larger companies waive off the waiting period.
The typical duration for maternity waiting can be anywhere between 9 and 18 months.
Buying additional insurance coverage on top of work insurance
Many women who foresee a likelihood of higher bills wonder if they can buy insurance on top of their work insurance. For example, if your maternity coverage Hong Kong via your company is capped at HK $25,000. Is it then possible to buy more insurance and still claim this amount?
The answer is yes. One can club health insurance policies as long as you haven’t’ claimed twice for the same amount. What you could do in this scenario is claim the work policy for a certain amount of invoices and the individual policy for the rest of your claims to get the most reimbursements. For instance, you could split the work and individual plans for prenatal care and childbirth bills.
The difference between local Maternity insurance and international maternity insurance
You may have heard of local maternity and international maternity. What do they mean and how do they work?
Many companies provide maternity insurance policies but there are two types of plans:
Local Maternity insurance is a policy that is provided by a local company. These plans limit the use of medical facilities to those within the borders of Hong Kong and provide much lower coverage overall compared to international policies.
International insurance companies provide international maternity insurance plans that give you the freedom to choose the doctor/hospitals of your choice anywhere in the world. This means that if one is planning to deliver outside Hong Kong, thene the company provides coverage, no matter the location.
International maternity insurance plans have a higher coverage limit and also offer more extensive coverage.
It is best to be prepared and research your options before you plan a child. The biggest obstacle that you can face is the inability to get maternity insurance in time for your pregnancy. Don’t leave maternity insurance planning to the last minute.