Insurance companies participating in the VHIS (“VHIS Providers”) offer individual indemnity hospital insurance plans that are certified by FHB. It is a free choice of consumers whether to buy Certified Plans or not.
|VHIS – Flexi||Product features||FAQ|
|Premium||Benefit coverage||Tax deduction|
The scheme comprises “Standard Plan” and “Flexi Plan”. Insurance companies are required to consider Hong Kong residents aged between 15 days and 80 years old for applications and guarantee to renew the insurance for policyholders up to age 100. As of 1st August 2019, 22 insurance companies have participated in the scheme and launched 172 products in total:
*Includes plans of different currencies and categories
Bowtie, the first authorized virtual insurance company in Hong Kong, offers “VHIS – Flexi” with monthly premium less than $200*. Successfully enrol with the promo code “BOWTIE” by 31st of December can get $3,000 BowtieCash^. Get your quote now!
*Monthly premium of Flexi Plan for non-smoking male aged 25 is $183.
^BowtieCash Rewards – can be used to cover any eligible medical expenses exceeding the benefit and coverage limit of Bowtie VHIS. Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to the Campaign Rules.
Standard Plan is fixed in product design and adheres to the minimum complying requirements of VHIS. Except for some minor allowable variations, the Standard Plans offered by different VHIS providers should be largely the same in product design. All VHIS providers have to disclose the certification number of their certified plans. For example, the certification number of Bowtie’s Standard Plan is S00023-01-000-01. (as shown below)
Coverage of different standard plans are largely the same, so insurance premiums become important when considering which plan to enrol. Consumers can get details and compare the premiums of all standard plans offered by different VHIS providers at FHB’s website.
It is important to compare the premiums!
For a non-smoking insured aged 20, the differences in premiums charged by different VHIS providers could be very large:
|Gender||Difference between the highest and the lowest premiums|
Consumers should also consider other protections when enrolling for VHIS
Besides, VHIS providers are allowed to offer standard plans with minor variations. For example, some insurance companies provide:
- Compassionate death benefit
- Death benefit due to medical negligence
- Total and permanent incapacity income benefit
- Hospital income benefit
- Accidental death benefit
- Additional death allowance for organ donor
- Day surgery cash allowance
- Second claim incentive
Meanwhile, VHIS providers offer basic protection equivalent to Standard Plan coverage, plus top-up protection. What are those top-up protections?
VHIS providers can increase the benefit limit of individual benefit items or provides protection to additional benefit items.
Taking Bowtie “Flexi – Standard” as an example, coverage for prescribed diagnostic imaging tests and hospital room and board is increased:
VHIS Standard Maximum Benefits Limit
|Benefit item||Bowtie “Standard”||Bowtie “Flexi- Standard”|
|Prescribed diagnostic imaging tests||$20,000||$26,000|
|Hospital room and board||$750/day|
Up to 180 days/policy year
|$880/day for unlimited number of days|
Benefits coverage is also extended to emergency outpatient treatment, home nursing, rehabilitation, outpatient kidney dialysis, companion bed and $120,000 supplementary major medical (SMM) benefit:
Bowtie “Flexi – Standard”
|Additional benefit coverage||Maximum limit|
|Emergency outpatient treatment||$8,000|
|Rehabilitation (e.g. chiropractic, speech therapy, physiotherapy)||$750/day|
|Companion bed||$350/day for unlimited number of days|
|Supplementary major medical (SMM)||$120,000|
|Insurance companies can design their own product||Standard requirements of the scheme in product design|
|With “Lifetime benefit limit”||No “Lifetime benefit limit”|
|Not necessarily cover unknown pre-existing conditions||Covers unknown pre-existing conditions|
|Not necessarily cover cancer treatment||Covers non-surgical cancer treatment|
|Not necessarily cover psychiatric inpatient treatments||Covers psychiatric inpatient treatments|
|Not necessarily cover prescribed diagnostic imaging tests such as Computed Tomography (CT scan), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scan) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan)||Covers prescribed diagnostic imaging tests such as Computed Tomography (CT scan), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI scan) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan)|
|Not necessarily cover the treatment of congenital conditions||Covers treatment of congenital conditions manifested or diagnosed since the age of 8|
|Cooling-off period varies among different insurance companies||Cooling-off period of 21 days|
FHB announced on March 2019 that the average premium of VHIS products is $4,000, 20% lower than the estimate of HK$4,800 made by a consultancy report based on 2017 figure.
|Age||Average premium of “Standard Plans” in the market||Average premium of Bowtie “Standard Plan”|
|0 – 4||$2,600||$1,657|
|20 – 24||$2,000||$1,330|
|40 – 44||$3,900||$2,734|
|60 – 64||$9,800||$6,007|
Source: South China Morning Post, Food and Health Bureau
Last updated on 24 May 2019
Benefit coverage and maximum limit have to meet the minimum requirements
Though the benefits of “Flexi Plans” offered by different insurance companies are very different, all “Standard Plan” and “Flexi Plan” have to meet the following minimum requirements:
|Benefit coverage||Maximum limit|
|Hospital ward and board||$750/day|
Up to 180 days/policy year
|Attending doctor’s visit fee||$750/day|
Up to 180 days/policy year
|Miscellaneous charges||$14,000/policy year|
|Specialist’s fee||$4,300/policy year|
Up to 25 days/policy year
|Surgeon’s fee||$5,000 – $50,000|
|Anaesthetist’s fee / Operating theatre charges||35% of surgeon’s fee payable|
|Prescribed diagnostic imaging tests||$20,000/policy year |
Subject to 30% coinsurance
|Prescribed non-surgical cancer treatments||$80,000/policy year|
|Psychiatric treatments||$30,000/policy year|
|Pre- and post-confinement / day case procedure outpatient care||$580/visit, up to $3,000/policy year |
1 prior outpatient visit or emergency consultation/confinement or day-case procedure
3 follow-up outpatient visits/confinement or day-case procedure
(within 90 days after discharge from hospital or completion of day case procedure)
Source: VHIS Certified Policy Template
Remarks: Annual limit up to HK$420,000 without lifetime benefit limit
*Surgeon’s fee is the same as surgical procedure fee, which is classified into 4 categories: minor, intermediate major and complex. The claim limit for each category is $5,000, $12,500, $25,000 and $50,000 respectively.
**Tests only include computed tomography (“CT” scan), magnetic resonance imaging (“MRI” scan), positron emission tomography (“PET” scan), PET-CT combined and PET-MRI combined.
^Treatments only include radiotherapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and hormonal therapy.
To let you have a better idea of the coverage, we selected 5 common surgeries covered by “Standard Plan” and below is the claim amount:
|Surgery / Procedure|
|Coronary artery bypass surgery|
|Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction|
|Breast tumour/ lump excision +/- biopsy|
|Phacoemulsification and implant of intraocular lens|
|Colonoscopy with polypectomy|
Source: VHIS Certified Policy Template
According to the Inland Revenue Department, some expenses such as self-education, MPF, charitable contributions are eligible for tax deductions. To attract more people to join VHIS, the government offers VHIS policyholders tax deduction on premiums paid.
Starting from May this year, taxpayers can claim VHIS for a tax deduction while they file their tax returns.
How much tax deduction will I receive?
Tax deductions = VHIS annual premium x tax rate
For example, If your annual VHIS premium is $5,000 and your tax rate is 15%, your will save = $5,000 x 15% = $750.
The Legco has passed the bill on 31 October 2018. Starting on the 2019/20 tax year, every insured person can claim up to $8,000 for tax deductions. You may not be able to save a lot if you only enrol VHIS for yourself, but if you enrol 4 policies for 3 other family members, you will be able to claim up to $32,000 for tax deductions! There’s no limit on the number of insured persons and/or policies claimed.
The government estimated that 1.5 million will join VHIS, with many of them switching from their existing policies. Before making a decision, we suggest everyone compare their existing policy with VHIS in different aspects, such as coverage, claim limit, premium and underwriting policy.
If you do not have any medical insurance, you can enrol VHIS via traditional insurance brokers or agents, as well as online such as Bowtie’s online platform, which enables everyone to buy VHIS themselves.
Q: Does VHIS cover dental treatment and outpatient expenses?
Standard plan covers only the in-patient emergency dental treatments and surgeries. Some Flexi plans may provide benefits that cover other in-patient and out-patient dental treatment.
For out-patient treatment, Standard Plan covers the out-patient care of pre- and post-confinement or day-case procedure with limitation on the number of visits per policy year. Standard plan also covers 70% of the expenses of prescribed diagnostic imaging tests, such as CT, MRI, PET-CT and PET-MRI.
Q: Will my premium increase after I file a claim?
VHIS premiums will be adjusted every year according to the age of the policyholder. VHIS providers cannot adjust the premiums because of your previous claims, claim amount or health conditions.
Q: Will I be denied to renew my insurance after I file a claim?
Policyholders of VHIS are guaranteed to renew their insurance until 100 years old. VHIS providers cannot deny the renewal because of your previous claims or health conditions.
Q: The difference between VHIS and general medical insurance when filing a claim?
FHB does not regulate the claim process of VHIS, so VHIS providers can design their own claim process. In general, VHIS providers would ask policyholders to submit documents such as hospital receipt, hospital claim form and laboratory test report.
Q: I have group medical coverage already, do I still need VHIS?
Group medical plan usually provides basic coverage only, and you will lose protection once leaving the company. You can also read the terms and conditions of your policy to understand whether the coverage is enough. If you think the group medical plan does not provide enough protection, you may consider buying personal medical insurance to get more protection and VHIS is one of the options. To learn more about insufficient coverage of group medical plan.
To read more frequently asked questions about VHIS, its enrollment and claims!
In conclusion, the goal of launching VHIS is to provide one more option for Hong Kong people, so that we will use private hospital more and the burden on public hospitals will be eased. We will keep you updated on VHIS, so stay tuned!
The above information is for reference only. If you need any tax advice, please consult with your tax advisor. In no event shall Bowtie be liable to you or to any other party for any loss or damage whatsoever or howsoever caused directly or indirectly in connection with your access to or use of the content thereon.