Majority against paying for health savings plan

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2008, 12:00am

The majority of people are opposed to contributing part of their income for medical insurance or a health-care savings plan, a poll has found.

The poll, conducted by the Democratic Party, also found only 30 per cent of respondents agreed that employers and employees should share responsibility for contributing to health saving schemes.

Of the 1,107 people interviewed between March 28 and April 30, 59 per cent opposed making contributions. The respondents live in Tsuen Wan and Kwai Chung.

Of the 41 per cent who supported the idea of contributing, 76 per cent said employers and employees should share the burden. That translates to about 30 per cent of total respondents.

A total of 39 per cent of those who supported making contributions said they were willing to put in 2 to 3 per cent of their salary.

In a consultation paper on health reform released in March, the government outlined six financing models that aimed to make the overburdened system more sustainable. Among the six options was a personal health-care reserve scheme that would require the working population to save 3 to 5 per cent of their salary and use part of the money to buy mandatory medical insurance.

'Compared with respondents from a middle-class background, a higher proportion of the elderly and those with grass-roots backgrounds opposed the idea of contributing to health saving schemes. It reflects their worries about their ability to afford the contribution,' Democratic Party legislator Lee Wing-tat said.

'No matter which option the government adopts eventually, there is a need to stick to principles such as providing medical services to all citizens and giving patients choice over private and public medical services.'

Meanwhile, a group of dentists called for a policy that puts more resources into dental care after a survey showed that 82 per cent of respondents agreed to extend coverage to kindergarten children aged 3 to 5 years and secondary students, aged 12 to 15. Subsidised dental care is offered only to primary school pupils.