Hospital admission can occur in two ways. Either you will be admitted in emergency circumstances or you will be referred by your doctor. In the latter case you will be informed by your doctor of which hospital to attend and when. See the “Main facilities and practitioners” section for details of Hong Kong hospitals.
If you’re seeing a private doctor and require hospitalization, your doctor will arrange for you to be admitted to a private hospital with whom he is associated. In fact many private hospitals will not admit you if you do not have a prior appointment made by your doctor.
At the hospital, you will be required to produce your identification documents and an admission slip provided by your doctor. Private hospitals require that you put down a deposit before admission which varies depending on the type of room you choose. For example, for a semi-private room (two-bed ward), the deposit required usually ranges from HK$15,000 to $20,000. However if you are covered by insurance then many insurance companies, like Bupa HK, offer plans with high premiums that allow you to be admitted without having to put down any cash deposit at first.
Under these circumstances you have to supply the hospital with your insurance card at admittance and the hospital authorities will liaise with the insurance company for prior approval. If your insurance is employer provided then the hospital may also ask for a letter of guarantee before they admit you. Payment at private hospitals can be made by credit card, check or cash.
In the event of an emergency, you do not need to phone a hospital in advance but if you have the means of doing so, it is advisable. In order to access public hospital services you will be required to show a Hong Kong ID card. If you do not have one you will be unable to use public health care and will be redirected to a private hospital. This makes a case for always carrying your HKID card with you. Public hospitals accept payments by check, cash, EPS or credit cards.
At the private hospital, you will be required to put down a sum of money as deposit for your care as private hospitals will not accept patients, even in an emergency, if they are unable to demonstrate that they have the means to pay for their care. It is therefore crucial that you are aware of the hospital that will be suitable for you should an emergency arise. This information is usually provided to you by your insurance provider. Even when you hold insurance, you are expected to pay hospital bills upfront yourself and will make a claim to the insurance company after. Private hospitals also accept check, cash or credit cards.
In the event of an emergency where you are unable to admit yourself to hospital, please call 999. An ambulance will take you to the nearest public hospital unless they are told otherwise.
For more information:
Admission and Hospitalisation