FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Insurers gear for Hong Kong's $1.27b national health insurance programme

The Voluntary Health Insurance System will offer $1,000 in tax benefits to lure residents.

As many as eleven insurance companies ranging from top international players to virtual insurers have been approved to join Hong Kong’s $1.3b (HK$10b) health insurance programme, reports South China Morning Post.

These include AXA, AIA, Cigna, Manulife, Prudential, Zurich, FWD, Bupa, BOC Life, FTLife and Bowtie.

Also read: Hong Kong ramps up efforts to capture GBA insurance market

By awarding an annual $1,019 (HK$8,000) tax break for each family member that’s put on the plan, the Voluntary Health Insurance System (VHIS) aims to take pressure off the city’s ageing public medical system through tax incentives that help facilitate entry into the private system.

The programme also ensures that older residents can avail of private health insurance past 60 years old and unlock lifetime cap for compensation. Under the VHIS, policyholders will be covered up to 100 years old with an annual compensation of HK$420,000.

David Alexander, chairman of the Task Force on Healthcare Reform of Hong Kong Federation of Insurers told SCMP that he expects about 30 insurance companies to offer VHIS plans.

The government expects about 1.5 million people to buy VHIS plans over the next three years with about 1.1 million migrating from their current private plans and the remaining 400,000 buying the plans for the first time, secretary for food and health Sophia Chan said in an earlier interview.

The VHIS kicks off on April 1.

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