HKFI’s initial response on study report by Consumer Council


The Hong Kong Federation of Insurers (HKFI) welcomes the issuance of the report on Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) by the Consumer Council and would like to provide the following response:-

  • The market is evolving with plentiful types and design of insurance products to support the needs of consumers.

  • Take medical insurance as an example, with the rising popularity of daycare medical centers / outpatient surgery, a growing number of insurers have included daycare medical centers / outpatient surgery in the coverage of their medical insurance products. It serves to encourage patients and doctors to have treatment based on the actual health conditions, so as to reduce unnecessary hospitalization and expenses, whilst shortening the length of stay of patients and alleviate the demand for hospital beds. Therefore, most medical insurance plans in the market, including non-VHIS plans, already have coverage on daycare medical centres / outpatient procedure expenses. Should policyholders be uncertain of their policies’ coverage, they should seek clarity from their insurance intermediaries or insurance companies.

  • HKFI and its members support the launch of VHIS by the HKSAR Government. Since the launch of the Scheme nine months ago, we have been working closely with the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) and VHIS Office to constantly optimize and fine-tune the framework of VHIS in order to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.

  • Premium transparency is highlighted as one of the Scheme’s key features. With free flow of information, as well as the free market principle upheld by the city, we believe insurers would maintain proper cost control and improve its customer service to stay competitive and attract consumers.

  • HKFI is actively driving market changes, for example, we are currently working with our members to standardize the underwriting questionnaire for medical insurance policies. Insurers will be able to understand the health conditions of customers through a set of unified and respondent-friendly questions. This can help improve the overall services for our customers and prevent future disputes. The standardized underwriting questionnaire is expected to be launched this year.

  • All this while, we will seek to work with the FHB and the medical community to enhance the transparency of medical expenses, so patients could have budget certainty before conducting medical procedures.

  • Insurance products in the market vary with their coverage. We agree with the advice of the report of Consumer Council: consumers should compare the existing policy with VHIS for their coverage and base their decision on affordability and financial ability. Do not purchase / migrate a policy merely for premium or tax discounts. At the same time, they should also pay attention to after-sale services provided by insurers, e.g. claims procedures and hospitalization budget.

  • HKFI will continue its public education on VHIS and all other medical insurance products to ensure consumers are aware of the importance of medical insurance protection and the points to look out for when taking out such cover.