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Hong Kong: Bigger tax breaks urged for the young who enrol in voluntary health plan

Source: Asia Insurance Review | Feb 2018

Hong Kong Life & Health Regulation

Bigger tax breaks are proposed for young Hongkongers to induce them to join a government-backed voluntary medical insurance scheme, reported the South China Morning Post. 
   Ms Elaine Chan Sau-ho, deputy chairwoman of the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers’ health care reform task force, said that tax breaks would be the biggest incentive that would induce people, of all ages, into enrolling in the voluntary health insurance scheme (VHIS).
   She said that if the tax deduction is not attractive enough, or the proposal failed to be passed by lawmakers, the entire scheme would not succeed. Lawmakers are expected to vote on tax treatment for the VHIS in the second quarter of this year.
   One option, she suggested, is to devise a progressive tax structure, allowing people who join the scheme at a younger age to benefit from more tax credits. To attract middle-aged buyers, the government should expand the exemption for dependents, meaning that taxpayers could pay less tax if their dependents join the insurance scheme.
   The long-delayed reform plan aims to raise the standard of private health policies in the city so that more people are encouraged to be insured and use the private health care system, easing the pressure on overloaded public hospitals. A 
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