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Bupa extends clinical coverage to video consultation services in Hong Kong

Hong Kong,22 Jul 2020

Bupa Global Research finds Hong Kong and Mainland China
senior executives increasingly concerned about health issues

  • A majority of senior executives in Hong Kong (87.6%) and Mainland China (70.5%) have experienced physical and mental health pressure amid the outbreak of COVID-19, but less than 9% seeking professional support
  • Only 32% and 25.2% of Hong Kong senior executives stated financial stability, and career development and job security respectively as key concerns, compared to 46.8% and 40.1% of Mainland China senior executives
  • More than 95% of senior executives in both Hong Kong and Mainland China had significant changes in their habits and mindset after the pandemic, while “Care for and maintain mental health” became one of the top 5 priorities at work and in life for both Hong Kong (45%) and Mainland China senior executives (30%)
  • One in every four Hong Kong senior executives (28.6%) and over half of Mainland China senior executives (58%) have planned to increase their overall private medical insurance spending regardless of the economic uncertainties

Bupa Global today released the latest Research Report to study the impact on lifestyle and health by the COVID-19 outbreak, surveying 500 Hong Kong (HK) and 1,031 Mainland China (CHN) senior executives across a range of industries in the two markets. The research which was conducted in May to July 2020 to better understand the changing outlook of senior executives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The report highlights that the pandemic has increased demand for medical insurance in the markets surveyed and has also driven greater interest among high-end customers in insurance products with mental health coverage.

Senior executives underestimated the impact of physical and mental pressures, but less than 9% have reached out for professional support

The majority of senior executives in Hong Kong (87.6%) and Mainland China (70.5%) said that they had experienced significant physical and mental health pressures. Among them, 32% of HK respondents and 40.2% of CHN senior executives said that they had faced at least three or more physical and mental health symptoms, including mood swings, mental exhaustion and not getting any enjoyment out of life during the pandemic.

Strikingly, 22% and 16% of HK and CHN senior executives said they had experienced mental burnout / exhaustion and one in every 100 HK (1.0%) and CHN (1.2%) senior executives even experienced hallucinations. Despite the range of health issues, only 8.4% of HK executives and 8.7% of CHN executives sought professional medical support for their problems. Most opted to try and live normally – a view held by 36.2% of HK respondents and 27.4% of CHN respondents.

“The research findings have revealed the broad effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the mental wellbeing of senior executives in HK and CHN. Even though the impact of mental pressures and the importance of seeking professional help are often underestimated, we are finding that mental health is clearly a growing top-of-mind concern among this audience. Mental health support would have previously incurred high costs and would have been difficult to find in a health plan. However, this continues to change in the industry as we push for greater awareness and mental health coverage in health products and medical insurance plans,” Marketing and Consumer Sales Director, Bupa Global, Neil Kirby, said.

Pandemic brings significant changes to 95% executives’ attitude to work and life

More than 95% of respondents in both Hong Kong and Mainland China said that the pandemic had made them reconsider their attitude to their work and life habits and mindset.

Top change at work for CHN executives is reducing expenses to prepare for economic recession, while more HK executives focus on exploring flexible work arrangement in the longer term. Digital transformation is also one of the top 3 changes for HK senior executives, while in CHN they will also focus more on online sales and marketing.

Also, 30% of senior executives in both markets will give more consideration to their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing while on a personal level, maintaining good mental health of employees had become a heightened priority for executives in Hong Kong (45.0%) and Mainland China (49%). This trend is likely to result in an upward demand for related professional medical services that focus on mental health.

One in every four Hong Kong senior executives will increase spending on private health insurance, despite their uncertainty about the global economy and worries of personal financial stability

According to the research, 53% of HK senior executives are concerned about the future economy whereas 39.7% CHN senior executives thinks the global economy will fall into recession.  During COVID-19 pandemic, CHN executives worry about their “personal financial stability” (46.8%) and “career development and job security” (40.1%), whereas HK senior executives (32% and 25.2% respectively) are less concerned.

Despite differing concerns among HK and CHN executives, the research also showed that the demand for medical insurance and the related overall spending are expected to increase in both Hong Kong and Mainland China. Even though over 70% of the senior executives surveyed already had medical insurance cover, 73% of respondents in Hong Kong and 78% in Mainland China said they would consider subscribing to additional private medical insurance for themselves and their family members within a year. One in two (58%) CHN executives said that they planned to increase their overall private medical insurance spending while HK executives are more conservative with 62% choose to keep the same spending, only 28% commit to spend more.

Preventive care, mental health cover and virtual doctor consultation are becoming more important in HK and CHN

Senior executives in Hong Kong and Mainland China both have the same expectations for self-funded medical insurance plans, which includes medical coverage for pandemics, coverage for critical illnesses, in-patient care and surgical needs as well as coverage for preventative care. However, HK respondents were more likely to look for international medical assistance and coverage across global networks, while CHN respondents prioritised plans with higher maximum claims limits and more comprehensive coverage. The research also revealed growing preferences among the surveyed groups for virtual doctor consultation coverage (HK: 24.2%; CHN: 37%) and mental health support (HK: 27.2%; CHN: 27.5%).

“We are pleased to announce the results of this Bupa Global’s Research Report, which highlight valuable insights that allow us to better understand the evolving healthcare and insurance needs of our high-end customers,” Neil Kirby said. “We continue to see a significant appetite for high quality medical insurance with international coverage and global network support, especially among the High net worth segment/ senior executive level. Their growing demand for mental health coverage is an emerging trend that is likely to take precedence in the next few years. Bupa Global, as an international health protection specialist, is one of the first in the market to provide high-end insurance plans with global cover tailoring to the needs of this segment. Bupa Global is committed to investing in product innovation and service enhancement to better cater the ever-changing demands and expectations of our valued clients. “

Bupa – A global healthcare specialist

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Bupa began in the UK in 1947. We fund healthcare around the world and run clinics, hospitals, dental centres, care homes, and more. With no shareholders, we reinvest our profits to provide more and better healthcare for customers.  

Bupa is the UK’s largest health insurer.* In Hong Kong, we are known as the health insurance specialist. We have gained the trust of more than 400,000 individuals, and 3,200 companies. We have provided quality health insurance for Hong Kong’s civil servants for more than 20 years.

Bupa also provides primary care services through Quality HealthCare Medical Services (QHMS), one of Hong Kong’s largest private clinic networks.

Bupa Global is the international health insurance arm of Bupa, serving 2 million customers around the world. We provide products and services for globally minded and mobile people who want the most premium coverage and access to the healthcare they need anytime, anywhere in the world, whether at home or when studying, living, travelling or working abroad. 

* Source: Laing Buisson Health Cover UK Market Report 16th Edition, published June 2020, in terms of market share by premium income among private medical insurance providers


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