7th June 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong government is considering allowing married couples to share their Health Care Voucher accounts, starting from July. The goal of this initiative is to provide more flexibility and convenience to elderly couples who are using the vouchers to pay for their medical expenses.
According to a document submitted by the Health Bureau to the Legislative Council’s panel on health services, elderly couples will be able to link their Health Care Voucher accounts by presenting their ID cards and confirming their marital status at a health services provider. Once their accounts are linked, they can use the outstanding amount in their partner’s account if they have already spent all the funds in their own account.
To further enhance the user experience, the government is also considering replacing the traditional paper form with an electronic consent form. Additionally, an SMS notification function will be introduced to alert elderly citizens and their partners in real-time when the balance in their accounts is used. The accounts will remain linked until one of them submits a written request to withdraw from the sharing feature.
In order to better serve elderly citizens, they will be able to collect the Health Care Voucher without making prior applications. This will make it easier for them to access the vouchers and use them to pay for medical expenses.
Last year, Chief Executive John Lee suggested increasing the amount of Health Care Voucher by HK$500 to HK$2,500. As a result, the bureau proposed distributing the extra HK$500 into elderly citizens’ accounts after they have spent the first HK$1,000.
The new arrangements will be implemented under a three-year pilot scheme that will be rolled out in the fourth quarter of this year. The government hopes that this new initiative will make it easier for elderly couples to manage their medical expenses and improve their overall quality of life.