Medical bills are rising across the board. These include costs for routine operations as well as accidents and emergencies. What can you do to cope with these costs?
While the good news is that we are living longer, the bad news is that medical care is getting more expensive. We break down the major reasons behind the rising costs as well as how personal accident coverage can help you cope with it.
Rapidly Rising Costs
Inflation has seen prices gradually creep up across products and services in Hong Kong over the years. However, medicine and medical services have seen some of the highest levels of inflation. Advances in medical technology, such as minimally invasive surgery and new medications for cancer, have been welcomed by patients but they come at a high price. For example, a two-year targeted therapy for treating lung cancer costs around HK$384,000.1 As medical technology continues to advance, healthcare costs are expected to spiral even higher. Hong Kong residents could join long waiting lists to get treated at public hospitals, or opt for private hospitals which have shorter waiting lists but are much more expensive.
Another factor pushing up medical costs is an aging population. The portion of elderly people has been creeping up across Asia, particularly in developed economies such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.. An aging population leads to an over-demand for medical services, putting a strain on both public and private hospitals. This increased demand will see medical charges rocket even higher.
While medical insurance is widely available in Hong Kong, much of the populations aren’t protected by a medical insurance plan. As the costs of treatments and operations rise, the protection gap is getting wider as people don’t have adequate insurance. Some may be covered by their employer’s group medical plan but that normally only covers a certain portion of expenses. There is also an issue when the employee retires, as they will lose their company-funded medical protection.