23Jul

Updating Your Health Insurance

As we go through different phases of our lives, so do our needs for health insurance cover. Does your current plan still cover your needs or are there parts of the policy that are not longer needed?

Health insurance covers must also adjust to the rest of your family member’s needs which is why it’s important to check with your provider every two years.

Here are questions you should ask when reviewing your policy:

  1. Is my policy limit enough to cover my needs and my supplementaries? There are policies that offer unlimited annual policy offers.
  2. Do you have plans of moving or traveling more frequently? This means you might need a health insurance policy that covers the places you will be traveling. There are international health insurance covers that follow you wherever you are and plans that excludes the US or UK.
  3. If you’re married and have a growing family, is your insurance plan able to adapt to maternity and child needs?
  4. Do you need to add a policy for pre-existing, mental, hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions?
  5. If you have a policy taken care by your current employer, you also need to evaluate if you’ll need a separate private medical insurance if there are plans of changing jobs. Check if the company health insurance covers for family members or for chronic diseases. If you have special medical needs and your company insurance does not cater to its treatment, an international health insurance cover should be able to take care of what’s lacking.

AS AN EXPAT, CONSIDER INTERNATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE

This health insurance policy is generally comprehensive and can cover maternity and cancer treatment. It all depends on your needs as well as your family’s. Village Insurance Direct helps expat find the affordable and complete international health insurance from established providers in Hong Kong.

As an expat, you need to foresee if you will be moving in the next years and having an International health insurance that follows you wherever you will give you peace of mind in situations where local hospital may be unable to provide for your needs. The advantage of having this type of insurance is also having local service from your provider’s customer support so you know exactly what your policy can cover.

Ask your insurance provider about your current policy. It is also crucial that you do your own research especially if you’re paying a substantial amount for medical insurance you yourself and your family.

 

14Jul

The Importance of Critical Illness Protection

We never know when the worse can happen. One day we could be living normal loves when suddenly we’re told that we have a critical illness that can possibly take us away from the people we love.

Critical illness insurance is designed to protect you and your family from the impact of illnesses such as cancer, heart attack and stroke, and provide financial security in the face of a crisis. It gives you financial independence when you need it most. You need insurance not only because you are going to die but because you are going to live.

In the Middle East, the average age is 48 for critical illness claimants. One can even get a heart attack as early as 29.

These testimonial from Gary, an expat and insurance claimant is a story of strength and resilience we can all learn from:

PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURANCE VS. CRITICAL ILLNESS COVER

It is not unusual for people to be confused between critical illness cover and private medical insurance (PMI). While PMI might cover some or all of your medical bills, there tends to be an annual limit and you might also be required to co-pay a percentage of the bills. But it’s not just about the medical bills.

Reduced income

You may have to reduce your working hours, or stop working, which would result in a loss of income. In a report by Macmillian4 , almost one in three (30%) people living with critical illness experienced a loss of income as a result of their diagnosis. A third of critical illness survivors (33%) stopped working either permanently or temporarily, depending on recovery times.

Hidden healthcare costs

A significant proportion (41%) of people living with critical illness incur costs for other healthcare needs. These range from prescription medicines not included in personal medical insurance, clinical psychological services, physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and dietetics.

Lifestyle costs

Over a third (37%) of people incur costs for replacement clothing due to rapid weight loss or gain, specialised equipment, and home modifications, such as wheel chair access.

Other costs

Some costs are difficult to quantify, such as regular trips to medical appointments, travel for specialised treatment, wigs or hairpieces due to hair loss, and increase in household bills such as utilities, groceries and telephone

12Jul

Expat Guide: Transportation in Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s transport system is very fast, accessible and efficient. It does not pose much of a issue for expats because of the array of options to get around the city. Their public transport network includes ferries, trams and even outdoor escalators. What’s very notable is Hong Kong’s MTR system that’s recognized as one of the best globally. Taxi fares are also relatively cheap. This is the reason why citizens have not much need for a private car.

BUSES IN HONG KONG

There is no shortage of bus networks in the city. Rush hour can be quite an experience with the outpour of workers flocking to get to their offices so expect crowding early in the morning and after 6PM. There are also over 4000 minibus services across the city which can service up to 16 passengers. Green minibuses have specific stops and the red ones will stop anywhere along their route.

The bus will stop accommodating new passengers once its full. We recommend getting an Octupus card for easier payment. The signal for “Stop the bus” (if a bell is absent) is “yauh lohk”.

“DING DINGS” or TRAMS

This is a good option if you want a relaxing, chill ride because they are slower than the other forms of commute. The top deck is popular among tourists or locals who just want to slow down and appreciate the city. Trams operate between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan from about 5.30am to 12mn and you pay before exiting.

TAXIS IN HONG KONG

Some taxi drivers do not understand western accents so we recommend having Google Maps and a translator app on hand when getting on a taxi for the 1st few weeks. This form of transport is cheaper when compared to other global cities and they are quite efficient except when getting caught in traffic. Blue taxis are only permitted to travel within Lantau Island similar to green taxis that only operate within the New Territories. Red taxis are for Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, but one important tip is that if red taxi drops someone off on Hong Kong Island, they can only pick up passengers heading back to their designated area and this applies to all networks of taxis

FERRIES

Star Ferry is the most popular line in Hong Kong. Take it if you’re planning to go around Central and Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui’s Clock Tower. Other vessels offer regular services for residents of the outlying islands. Lamma, Cheung Chau, Discovery Bay, Ma Wan’s Park Island, Mui Wo and Peng Chau have dedicated daily services leaving from the Central Ferry Piers. Other ferries shunt from Aberdeen, Wan Chai, Hung Hom and North Point.

OUTDOOR ESCALATORS

Yes, escalators. The Mid-level neighborhood is known for its long and extensive outdoor escalators that take you from one block to the next or even farther. Most parts of the Mid-levels are steep streets and these escalators prove to be very convenient for this type of urban terrain. No need to pay when using them.