02.02.01. How is the health system financed? | Hong Kong SAR

02.02.01. How is the health system financed? | Hong Kong SAR

16 Aug 2022

The public health system is fully financed by the Government from taxation, following the policy that no one in Hong Kong should be denied medical care due to lack of means. Nearly 93% of the costs involved in delivering public health services are financed by public funding. The public system, thus, serves as a safety net for residents by making public health services available to all residents at an affordable price. People who have financial difficulties are exempted from payment of medical fees and charges for health services. Under the medical fee waiving mechanism, recipients of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and other vulnerable groups are waived from payment of public health care expenses when they meet certain financial and social criteria (Food and Health Bureau, 2017b).

The private health system is financed through patients’ out of pocket payments and it offers healthcare services to those who can afford them and are willing to pay for more flexible services at their own expense (Food and Health Bureau, 2017b). The Government also provides different funds for patients in need to pay for their medical fees and charges, for example, the Samaritan Fund, the Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programmes, and the Health Care Voucher. The Samaritan Fund provides financial assistance to needy patients for designated privately purchased medical items or new technologies of medical treatment which are not covered by the standard fees and charges in public hospitals and clinics (Hospital Authority, 2020c). The Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programmes assist patients in purchasing specified self-financed cancer drugs, ultra-expensive drugs, and specified implantable medical devices for interventional procedures (Hospital Authority, 2020a). The Health Care Voucher provides an annual amount of $2,000 to older people aged 65 and above which allow them to choose private health services including preventive care (Health Care Voucher, 2019).


Food and Health Bureau. (2017b). Report of the Strategic Review on Healthcare Manpower Planning and Professional Development.

Health Care Voucher. (2019, June 26). Background of Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme.

Hospital Authority. (2020a). Community Care Fund Medical Assistance Programmes. Retrieved from https://www.ha.org.hk/visitor/ha_visitor_index.asp?Content_ID=206049&Lang=ENG&Dimension=100&Parent_ID=10044&Ver=HTML

Hospital Authority. (2020c). Samaritan Fund. Retrieved from https://www.ha.org.hk/visitor/ha_visitor_index.asp?Content_ID=10048&Lang=ENG&Dimension=100&Parent_ID=10044