You can’t stay 25 forever. But you can start protecting your health when you’re 25. Many youngsters understand this and realize the importance of getting medical insurance when they are young.
The younger generation is more far-sighted
According to a survey conducted by Sun Life Hong Kong Limited and commissioned with the Centre for Social Policy Studies1, 27% of respondents aged between 18 and 29 pay over HK$ 12,000 in insurance premiums each year. The percentage is actually higher than the 21% for those aged between 30 and 59. The survey also revealed that 50% of respondents aged between 18 and 29 agreed that people should purchase medical and health insurance before they are 25 years old. This shows that the younger generation, who haven’t yet started to face the health problems of old age, seem to be more receptive towards the concept of medical insurance, and are more willing to pay for “securing health protection for their future”.
Rely on yourself rather than the Government
As we all know, our public medical resources are under increasing pressure these days. And with our rapidly ageing population in Hong Kong, the strain on medical resources is likely to get even worse in the future. The young generation who have the vision to see this, are willing to get health insurance in order to have one more healthcare option at their disposal should they need it. There are lots of different medical insurance plans on the market, but one of the most talked about schemes is the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) 2 launched by the Food and Health Bureau. All insurance plans in the scheme have to meet certain minimum requirements and be certified by the Bureau.
What young people need to know about buying medical insurance
1) Start early for a lower premium
As with other insurance plans, the age of the insurer is one of the considerations when calculating the premiums for VHIS. Basically this means that the younger you are, the lower your premium will be. But what’s different in this scheme, is that even if you have an existing medical condition you may not even know about, you’ll still be covered. So by starting young you can not only take real precautions for your health before anything happens, you can also enjoy the best possible rates. So “young” is the ideal time to join a medical scheme.
2) Do your market research
The VHIS says that, in order to ensure full transparency, all participating insurance companies must publish the precise premiums of their Certified Plans. This means that with just one click, anyone can download all the various product leaflets and compare their offerings. Most of today’s younger generation are quite comfortable doing research like this online, and almost all of the reputable insurance brands with long histories in the business make their information clearly available. But now one of them - Sun Life - has gone even further by launching their My Sun Life HK app. This enables you to actually manage your plans round the clock, whenever you want, and from wherever you are – a perfect solution for the lifestyle of today’s youngsters.
3) Make use of tools to calculate the future
When you are young, you may have little idea of how much it actually costs to suffer a major illness. And despite what many people might think, the three main fatal critical illnesses in Hong Kong: Cancer, Myocardinal Infarction and Stroke3 can strike at any time and at any age. But calculating the cost is now quite easy. Sun Life has just launched a free online estimator that can help you to get a clearer idea of the real cost of healthcare treatments, so you can see if you are sufficiently covered.
4) Enjoy tax deductions
To encourage more people to join VHIS, the insurer can apply for a tax deduction up to HK$8,000 in every financial year. If you are buying a plan for your spouse, or children under the age of 18, each insured person can also enjoy the same benefit4. So now you can make a smart calculation to enjoy a tax break and plan for your future.
Make different combinations of plans
When you are young and hopefully in better health, you can easily calculate the benefit amount and coverage of different plans to cover your own needs. As you grow older, you can consider renewing your plan up to the age of 100. So no matter how your health condition changes over the years, you can face whatever happens with peace of mind. Enjoying health protection from a young age until the age of 100 may no longer be just a dream!
1) Sun Life Hong Kong Limited “The Future of Health Insurance” survey
3) Sun Life Financial Health Index 2016
4) For more details, please refer to the Government VHIS website or the Inland Revenue Ordinance (Cap.112)
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