Entitlement and access to public health care services

Access to public health care services

In general, everyone has access to public health care services in Hong Kong, whether they are Hong Kong citizens or visitors. The difference is the charges for such services. Public health care services are not “free”. The charges can, however, be waived (see “Waiver of Public Health Care Expenses” below).

There are three categories of charges for health care services provided by Hospital Authority (“HA”) hospitals and clinics:

  1. public charges for “Eligible Persons”,
  2. public charges for “Non-eligible Persons”, and
  3. private charges.

The fees for “Eligible Persons” are much lower than those for “Non-eligible Persons”. Private charges are the highest of the three categories. The charges are published in the Gazette under “Public Charges – Eligible Persons”, “Public Charges – Non-eligible Persons”, and “Private Charges”.

It has been the policy of the Hong Kong SAR Government to provide public health care services to “Eligible Persons” at highly subsidized rates.

The HA defines “Eligible Persons” as:

  • holders of a Hong Kong Identity Card issued under the Registration of Persons Ordinance, Cap.177, Laws of Hong Kong (*), except those who obtained their Hong Kong Identity Card by virtue of a previous permission to land or remain in Hong Kong granted to them and such permission has expired or ceased to be valid;
  • children under 11 years of age with Hong Kong resident status; or
  • other persons approved by the Chief Executive of HA.

Persons who are not “Eligible Persons” are classified as “Non-Eligible Persons”.

* “Identity card” means an identity card issued under Cap.177 and includes a “permanent identity card”. A “permanet identity card” means an identity card containing the statement that the holder has the right of abode in Hong Kong.