Does VHIS cover overseas medical expenses?

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Does VHIS cover overseas medical expenses?

It turns out that VHIS not only covers local medical expenses but also medical services around the world! However, the coverage scope varies among different plans, and certain regions and items are more likely to be excluded from coverage. What overseas medical expenses does VHIS cover? Which overseas medical items are not covered? Bowtie will explain each of these questions in detail.

Does VHIS only cover local medical expenses?

According to the Health Bureau, except for psychiatric treatment, all medical coverage under the VHIS Standard plan is global, covering different countries and regions.

As for some Flexi plans or high-end VHIS policies, there may be regional restrictions set for items besides the basic coverage, such as providing coverage only for Asian regions or excluding medical expenses in Europe and America. The terms and conditions of different insurance companies and plans vary.

Use Bowtie as an example, the coverage scope of the VHIS standard, Flexi plan, and high-end plan of VHIS are different:

VHIS StandardVHIS Flexi Regular / PlusBowtie Pink
(Ward/ Semi-Private/ Private)
Annual Benefit LimitHK$420kHK$600k / HK$1mHK$8m / HK$10m / HK$20m
Lifetime Benefit LimitXXHK$40m / HK$50m/ HK$80m
Area of CoverageGlobal*Global^
  • *However, coverage for psychiatric treatment, rehabilitation treatment, and medical negligence is limited to Hong Kong.
  • ^However, coverage for psychiatric treatment is limited to Hong Kong; while medical expenses incurred in Mainland China hospitals outside the designated list and in the US will only be compensated according to the compensation limit of the VHIS Standard plan.

An example of Bowtie VHIS covering overseas medical expenses: 

Mr. Han had a business trip to Taiwan and accidentally broke his right hand, requiring immediate surgery to reset the fracture at a local hospital.

As a policyholder of Bowtie VHIS, Mr. Han only needed to download the claim form online, have the attending doctor at the local hospital fill it out, and attach relevant receipts and documents to complete the entire claims process, without the need to submit any documents in person.

Once Bowtie receives the claim application, it will immediately follow up and process it. After successful approval, the reimbursement will be transferred to his bank account in a matter of days, making the whole process simple and convenient. Even if he is overseas, he can continue to recuperate with peace of mind.

What are the situations in which overseas medical expenses are not covered?

  1. Exclusions
    Like all medical insurance policies, VHIS also has exclusions. Items that fall under exclusions will not be reimbursed, whether incurred locally or overseas.
  1. Psychiatric treatment
    In addition, if the insured person receives psychiatric treatment overseas or visits a non-designated hospital for treatment, the related expenses may not be reimbursed.

Examples of assumptions not covered

Receiving psychiatric treatment overseas

Mr. Chan suffers from emotional disorders and needs to take medication regularly. However, during a trip abroad, he forgot to bring the medicine with him and had a psychiatric episode, requiring hospitalization and psychiatric treatment. 

Generally, VHIS covers at least HK$30,000 of “psychiatric treatment” per policy year, but as Mr. Chan received treatment overseas, the hospitalization expenses, doctor’s fees, and other miscellaneous expenses incurred due to psychiatric treatment will not be reimbursed.

Can policyholders continue to receive coverage if they permanently or long-term move overseas?

In the case of Bowtie, all VHIS plans provide global coverage. However, at the time of application, both the policyholder and the insured person must reside in Hong Kong, and the policy will remain in effect even if the insured person moves overseas for a short or long period of time (except for residence in sanctioned or war-affected areas).

However, additional premiums may be charged for moving to countries with potentially higher risks. If the insured person does not wish to accept the recommended additional premium adjustment, they can choose not to renew the policy. If the insured person temporarily moves to other countries or travels, works, or studies overseas, the relevant policy will not be subject to additional premiums.

If there is any change of address, the policyholder or insured person should notify the insurance company immediately and understand the relevant coverage to avoid losing the budget when making a claim.

Psychiatric treatment under all Bowtie VHIS plans, rehabilitation treatment, and medical negligence coverage under the Bowtie VHIS Flexi are only applicable in Hong Kong. 

  • 1Bowtie Pink's full coverage is not applicable to Mainland hospitals outside the designated list and hosptial in the US.
For as low as HK$186 per month, you can have medical insurance coverage that includes overseas medical expenses and full coverage. Get a quote now!

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