Over 80% of Hong Kong people consider participating
Near 40% of respondents underestimate the medical expenses
AXA Hong Kong expands healthcare plan coverage to meet market needs
HONG KONG, Feb. 18, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Hong Kong public health care system is at the brink of saturation, coupled with the serious issue of an aging population, health and medical care are now among one of the most important concerns for the people of Hong Kong. As the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme ("VHIS") is going to be launched soon, AXA Hong Kong commissioned research firm Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey of 1,000 Hong Kong people aged 18 or above in January this year to learn about their views on the existing health insurance schemes and on VHIS.
Dr. Alexander Chiu, Medical Director, Medical and Employee Welfare Business of AXA Hong Kong and Macau, announces VHIS Perception Survey Findings today.
VHIS promotes new standards for medical insurance with nearly 80% of lower income families considering buying
According to the survey data, over eighty percent (82%) of respondents consider participating in VHIS while 27% of them show their intention as ‘extremely high and very likely’. Respondents indicate that individual benefits such as a tax rebates (42%) and reduced premium (42%) are comparatively more attractive. According to government information, the maximum premium limit for tax deductions per year is calculated on a per-insurer basis, with HKD8,000 being the maximum tax reduction per annum. In the case of lower income families, nearly forty percent (37%) of respondents said that current medical insurance is expensive, and nearly eighty percent (78%) will consider purchasing VHIS.
Apart from tax reduction, around half of the respondents (53%) welcomed the "no limit on lifetime cumulative claim amount" the most, followed by coverage extension to unknown pre-existing medical condition (48%). Furthermore, 21% of the respondents expressed they had been rejected insurance in the past as they had pre-existing condition. Results show that the public expects health insurance to cover a wider range of protection.
Dr. Alexander Chiu, Medical Director, Medical and Employee Welfare Business of AXA Hong Kong and Macau, said: "From the government’s recent announcement on VHIS and this survey, it fully reflects that the public has a high demand for expanding protection on ‘unknown pre-existing medical condition’ and ‘existing chronic illness’. AXA Hong Kong began to make innovative changes in our underwriting last year to expand the scope of protection to the three most common chronic diseases. In addition to applying to participate in Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme, AXA Hong Kong will also continue to explore the possibility of widening the range of coverage in its medical insurance products in response to market needs, so that it will benefit more clients as a whole."
Underestimating medical expenses | Post-90s generation agree VHIS can ease pressure on public healthcare system
The survey found that there is a serious imbalance in the public and private health care system, with 67% of the people of Hong Kong accustomed to using both public and private medical services. Shorter waiting time (71%) and better medical service (49%) are the major reasons opting for private medical service while public hospital service are preferred because of lower cost (60%) and no surprise of additional expenses at the end of treatment (40%).
Heart disease and cancer are among the most commonly known killer diseases in Hong Kong. The survey revealed that not only did 37% of customers underestimate the medical expenses associated with heart disease, but 23% of customers also underestimated the expenses incurred when treating cancer in public hospitals. Furthermore, one out of five respondents said they had no idea of the cost of medical expenses, in particular that of self-financed items. If people choose public hospital services because of lower medical expenditure but underestimate the cost for self-financed items, it will not only increase the public health care system burden and costs, but the patients will not be able to budget effectively for their living and finances.
In the survey, 85% of the post-90s generation agreed that VHIS could help alleviate long-term health care system problems through enhancing community awareness of medical insurance, reducing the financial burden of patients and diverting medical pressure away from public health system in the long run.
Face-to-face consultation raising customers confidence when buying health insurance products | Insurance company’s role is key
There are different medical insurance purchase channels in the market, how would the decision be made? The survey reveals that trust and face-to-face consultation with insurance agents are the primary considerations when buying insurance products. Nearly half (45%) of the interviewees will buy health insurance products through an insurance company agent, especially the customers in the age range 41-50 (51%). The younger generation, on the other hand, tends to be more diverse in its choice of channels: The survey shows that 32% will choose to buy from an insurance company’s website, 32% will buy from an online insurance comparison portal, and 30% from an insurance company’s customer service hotline.
In order to care for the needs of customers of all age ranges, AXA Hong Kong will also be expanding its sales channels for its health insurance products, making consultation and buying of the products via multiple channels such as agents, websites and hotlines more available. Besides, AXA Hong Kong has already submitted the applications for VHIS. With the leading position in medical insurance market and the first-in-market signature network, AXA Hong Kong is committed to offer more medical insurance options and information to Hong Kong people.
In this survey, respondents estimated that medical expenses for heart disease treatment in public hospitals were underestimated (37%), correct (19%), overestimated (26%), and unknown (18%).
AXA Hong Kong commissioned a research company Edelman Intelligence to conduct an online survey of 1,000 people aged 18 or over January 2019.
All respondents indicated that their intention to participate in VHIS is extremely high and very likely (27%), somewhat likely (55%), and may or may not be possible (18%).
Food and Health Bureau Voluntary Health Insurance Tax Deduction Leaflet: https://www.vhis.gov.hk/doc/en/information_centre/e_tax.pdf
For lower-income families (Indicating a monthly household income of HKD 15,000-20,000), the intention to participate VHIS is extremely likely (3%), very likely (20%), somewhat likely (55%), and may not (18%), completely impossible (4%).
In May 2018, AXA Hong Kong launched the new concept of BetterMe by AXA and revolutionized the underwriting standards for the three major urban diseases of type 2 diabetes, asthma and anemia: https://www.axa.com.hk/en/AXA-Hong-Kong-introduces-new-insurance-initiative-BetterMe-by-AXA
Centre of Health Protection "Most mortality from 2001-2017": https://www.chp.gov.hk/tc/statistics/data/10/27/117.html
In this survey, respondents estimated that the cancer treatment in public hospitals was underestimated (23%), correct (14%), overestimated (21%), unknown (20%); estimates of heart disease treatment were underestimated (37%), correct (19%), overestimated (26%), unknown (18%).
Definition of post 90’s generation as the respondents who were 18-30 years old in January 2019. It is highly probable that the voluntary medical insurance can alleviate the long-term medical problems (6%), very likely (32%), and somewhat likely (47%), may or may not be (12%), not at all likely(3%).
ABOUT AXA HONG KONG AND MACAU
AXA Hong Kong, a member of the AXA Group, prides itself of serving over 1 million customers in Hong Kong and Macau. Besides being one of the largest health protection providers in Hong Kong, it is also the #1 General Insurance provider and the #1 insurance brand worldwide for tenth consecutive years.
AXA Hong Kong has a clear goal of ’empowering people to live a better life’. This is reflected in everything we do. AXA Hong Kong is one of the most diversified insurers providing full range coverage for individual and commercial customers. We offer all-round, integrated solutions across Life, Health and Property & Casualty to address all their insurance needs.
AXA Hong Kong leverages on Big Data and AI to transform end-to-end customer experience, making insurance simpler and more personal. As an innovative insurer, we continue to drive innovation notably in health and protection, supporting customers in prevention, treatment and recovery.
We also believe it is our inherent responsibility to support the communities we operate in. AXA Foundation is our flagship corporate social responsibility programme covering all of our efforts in promoting health, education and community support to create positive and lasting impact to Hong Kong.
 Including customers of AXA China Region Insurance Company Limited, AXA China Region Insurance Company (Bermuda) Limited (incorporated in Bermuda with limited liability), and AXA General Insurance Hong Kong Limited
 Based on 2017 Insurance Authority market share statistics represented by overall gross premiums
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