Giving birth at a private hospital in Hong Kong can easily cost more than HK$100,000 and very few insurance policies nowadays fully cover the expenses. In fact, most policies impose maternity-specific limits, which can include both prenatal/postnatal care as well as the delivery itself.
Given that private hospital delivery packages are exceptionally expensive, many expat parents without extensive maternity insurance coverage have been opting for the “half-half” route, for maternity in Hong Kong. Pre-natal and post-natal care is provided by a private OBGYN or midwife (or both) and parents opt for a public hospital for the delivery.
If your maternity insurance coverage is limited and your budget tight, you should know that delivering at a public hospital will substantially reduce your childbirth fees. How does it work in practice? Here are some explanations.
If you hold a HKID Card, you just have to register with your cluster’s Maternal & Child Health Centre. These public centers provide antenatal care free of charge. The only expense you will have to pay for will usually be the copy of your ultrasound (HK$300/copy).
Because these public centers only offer a limited number of appointments per pregnancy, perform few ultrasounds, and on-site waiting times can be very long, many pregnant women opt for the private sector. They see a private OBGYN and/or midwife of their choosing and are therefore followed more closely and have more opportunities to discuss their pregnancy and concerns.
If you have a HKID Card, the cost of delivery in a public hospital amounts to HK$ 120 per day all inclusive (plus HK$75 of admission fees). Medical services are of high quality, and c-section rates are lower than in the private sector. Moreover, only public hospitals are equipped with NICUs (neonatal intensive-care units), which also means pre-term babies are only delivered in public hospitals. However, bear in mind that public hospitals are not the most comfortable. Your private OBGYN will not be present, the medical staff is busier, spoken English isn’t as widespread, hospital stays are shorter, you will be sharing a ward with several mothers, visiting hours are more restrictive, and mothers are allowed to be accompanied by one person only in the delivery room.
Moreover, public hospitals refuse private midwives and doulas to be present and no one is allowed in case of an emergency c-section. For more comfort, some women are ready to spend more and opt for a private ward within the public hospital. While Hong Kong’s expatriate community has always favored private maternity care, nowadays more and more expatriates are under local contracts and have limited health coverage. Many parents are therefore turning themselves towards the public sector which provides the advantage of being significantly less expensive than the private sector.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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