Hong Kong workers will be required to save 3 to 5 per cent of their salaries - ranging from HK$240 to HK$1,000 a month, depending on income - for their medical bills. The government plan for health reform outlined in the consultation document titled 'Your Health, Your Life' will today list six financing models that aim to make the overburdened health care system more sustainable. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced in his maiden budget speech last month that the government would reserve HK$50 billion for the reform, part of which will be used to set up a fund for the mandatory saving scheme. This is the fourth document in 15 years, and, at more than 100 pages, it will paint a dark picture of the rising financial crisis in health care because of an ageing population and rising medical costs. Reforming service delivery will also be discussed. A mixed model of mandatory savings and insurance will be proposed. Part of the money that workers contribute will buy a mandatory insurance plan. The scheme will be compulsory for income groups of HK$8,000 a month and above, with the contributory income capped at HK$20,000. The minimum saving will be about HK$200 to HK$300 a month. The document will outline what health benefits workers will get for their contributions, but will not say whether employers have to contribute. The government wants to open the document for public discussion. On the services side, the document proposes that a computerised database be set up for public and private doctors to exchange patient information. Executive Councillor Bernard Chan said yesterday that the middle class must be prepared to pay more for their health. Mr Chan, also the insurance sector legislator, said it was 'politically impossible' for the government to ask low-income earners to pay more. 'If the public agrees with the mandatory saving scheme, grass-roots people will not be required to save. They will continue to enjoy free or cheap public medical services. 'But for the middle class and the rich, they will certainly have to pay more, but at the same time, they will be able to enjoy a wider choice of services,' Mr Chan said. The scheme would mean a bigger pool, allowing workers more choice over where their money is spent. 'At present, Hong Kong people do not have much incentive to buy voluntary medical insurance,' he said. The insurance sector would face tighter regulations from the government if the scheme is introduced, he said. Meanwhile, Food and Health Secretary York Chow Yat-ngok defended giving the HK$1.2 million contract to publicise the reform plan to Heidi Kwan Cheng Lai-man without putting it out for tender. Responding to questions from Albert Ho Chun-yan in the Legislative Council yesterday, Dr Chow said the appointment of the former aide to former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan was in line with the principle of fairness and did not involve cronyism or any transfer of interests.