FWD survey reveals concern about medical expenditure increase

Nearly 40% might give up the best medical options

FWD survey reveals concern about medical expenditure increase

Insurance News

By Kenneth Araullo

FWD Hong Kong’s recent survey into "Healthcare Protection in the Greater Bay Area (GBA)" yielded some insights into Hongkongers’ thoughts on health protection planning. Most notably, the study found that a majority of the respondents are anticipating a huge increase in medical expenditure in the future, which would impose financial burden on them.

Despite this, there is a less significant portion of Hongkongers willing to shoulder the more expensive healthcare options, as nearly 40% of respondents admitted that they might consider giving up the best treatment options.

“A very heavy burden”

Conducted in September 2022, the survey was established in 11 cities with a goal to understand respondents’ views on healthcare protection plans for individuals and their families, including their expense budgets for medical and critical illnesses. The survey polled 2,410 GBA residents aged between 18 and 60, with 500 from Hong Kong, 102 from Macau, and the remaining 1,808 from nine other Mainland cities.

One of the key findings in the survey showed that there is a considerable pressure in coping with future medical expenses, which may result in some forgoing treatment. Sixty to 75% of respondents across the GBA are anticipating an increase of over 20% in medical expenditure in 10 years’ time. Seventy per cent of respondents also said that these medical expenses would create a “very heavy” or “rather heavy” financial burden within the next decade.

Hongkongers were also found to be much more passive in responding to medical financial burdens compared to other GBA residents, as 37% of them would opt to give up medical treatment or the best medical solutions.

Hong Kong – lowest rate of medical insurance coverage in GBA

Despite a majority of Hong Kong respondents (95%) considering healthcare protection as “rather important” or “very important,” only around half of them have medical insurance plans or critical illness insurance – figures of 56% and 49%, respectively. This is in stark contrast to Macau and the Mainland, which held 71%, 46%, and 80%, 70%, respectively.

Seventy per cent of Hongkongers spent no more than 20% of their overall household income annually on medical insurance or critical illness insurance, the survey. In contrast, about half of the respondents from Macau allocated over 20% of their income on insurance protection.

Lastly, compared to other respondents, Hongkongers considered mental health protection less important, with only 75% believing that mental health insurance covering depression, anxiety, etc. was “rather important” or “very important.” Macau and Mainland respondents valued it far more, with 87% and 90%, respectively.

"The COVID-19 pandemic in the past few years has highlighted the importance of physical and mental wellness,” FWD Hong Kong & Macau chief product officer Kelvin Yu said. “Medical and critical illness insurance will not only provide individuals with a reserve that caters for their future healthcare needs, but also help them ease their psychological burden associated with unexpected future medical spendings, allowing them to worry less and enjoy a healthier life."

Yu also said that the survey provided a timely update of healthcare protection and concerns among Hongkongers. This, in turn, helped the insurer to plan for further enhancements of their products, with FWD recently incorporating mental health into its medical protection scope, a first-in-Hong Kong initiative.

“Through providing accessible mental health protection, we hope to support individuals to plan for the holistic well-being for self and family, as well as to open up conversations about mental health issues,” Yu said.

FWD recently announced their entrance into the Malaysian life insurance sector with a major investment in one of the country’s top insurers, Gibraltar BSN.

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