Insurance claims: How hospital billing methods differ in Hong Kong

Posted by PSR_AXP 7 mths ago

Hong Kong ranks second when it comes to the most expensive place for medical treatment for both individuals and families, according to our latest report on health insurance costs. In view of this, it makes perfect sense to get your head around the ins and outs of the medical system of the city, especially if you’re an expat employee here. In this article, our friends at Pacific Prime Hong Kong will shed some light on different kinds of hospital billing methods.
Public out-of-pocket hospital billing
According to the Hospital Authority, there are three types of medical services categories, namely “public charges – eligible persons”, “public charges – non-eligible persons”, and “private charges”.

Eligible persons refer to those who can receive government-subsidized treatment through public facilities. On the other hand, non-eligible persons are those without citizenship, residency, or a valid Hong Kong ID card, such as visiting travelers.

Private charges at public hospitals mean inpatient visits where patients choose private wards or a designated private specialist.
Out-of-pocket payment methods at public hospitals
Usually, you can pay for your public hospital bills after your treatment is completed via one of the following payment methods:
  • Pay in person using a cheque, cash, Octopus card, EPS, or credit card;
  • Pay by cheque, bank draft, or cashier’s order via post (cash not accepted);
  • Use PPS;
  • Settle your bill by internet banking services provided by your bank;
  • Make payment at any ATM with the “JET PAYMENT” signage; or
  • Pay cash at a 7-Eleven.
Private out-of-pocket hospital billing
Seeking treatment at private medical facilities is much costlier than their public counterparts. One thing to note is that room fees and procedure charges are often separate from other costs, such as doctor’s fees, prescription charges, and costs for amenities such as meals.
You should also pay attention to the fact that some private hospitals require patients to pay after a certain period of time. For instance, the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital will ask their patients to make prompt payments once every 4 days.
Out-of-pocket payment methods at private hospitals
While you can settle your private hospital bills via the usual methods, exact acceptable payment methods vary between hospitals. Generally speaking, you can pay by:
  • By cash in person;
  • Via EPS or credit card;
  • Through a bank transfer; or
  • By cashier’s order. 
Hospital billing via a health insurance claim
Patient reimbursement
This is the good old-fashioned payment method where patients square up their hospital bills upfront and submit the receipts back to the insurer for reimbursement. The downside to this method, however, is that it can take weeks or even months to collect the claim. It is more suitable for those who prefer physical copies of documents related to finances.
Direct billing
Direct billing is available when a private hospital has partnered with an insurer to streamline the payment process. It means that you are not required to pay upfront. Instead, your insurer will confirm your coverage with the hospital and will be billed directly by the hospital for your medical charges.
It is best to check with your insurer where your policy’s direct billing options apply before you seek an appointment or admission.
Contact Pacific Prime Hong Kong to have your insurance-related questions answered, get a free quote, and acquire impartial advice today.

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