The cost of private day care surgery spiked 18 per cent in 2014 from the previous year, according to the Federation of Insurers, which attributed the rise to higher charges imposed by doctors and hospitals. That came despite a slight drop of 1 to 2 per cent in the ratio at which patients were reimbursed from medical insurance. Hong Kong private health insurance plan ‘will help 1.5 million people The rise was higher than for services performed in inpatient wards and outpatient clinics, which saw an increase of between 6 and 9 per cent. ’ Colonoscopy and gastroscopy procedures, which took up almost half of insurance claims in hospitals, were considered the key cost drivers. Looking back at medical claims statistics in 2014, the federation said increases in surgeons’ fees and facility charges in private hospitals and clinics ranged from 2 to 42 per cent, compared with a minimal rise in the past. Gastroscopy procedures performed in day-care centres recorded the sharpest increase, rising 25 per cent to HK$4,916. Surgeons’ fees took up 73 per cent of the total charge. The same procedure also recorded the greatest rise in facility charges – namely a 42 per cent increase. Charges for the two types of procedures also varied. While the average cost for a colonoscopy in a day-care centre cost HK$7,977, patients could be charged up to HK$29,622. “There was a difference in charges by doctors as there is no standard now. It depends on the doctors’ experience and choices or symptoms of clients. The number of polyps removed could also affect the price,” said Elaine Chan Sau-ho, deputy chairwoman of the federation’s task force on health care reform. Complaints to Hong Kong insurance industry self-regulator rise by 7pc Zenda Chan Lai-ngor, chairwoman of the federation’s Medical Insurance Association, added that better technology and the type of bed provided could also push up prices. But procedures performed in day care centres were still encouraged by the federation, as patients could get a higher rate of compensation from an insurance company. Patients could receive an average 83 per cent reimbursement on the cost of day care surgery, while the amount was 79 per cent for staying in a private hospital ward. The rate – at 65 per cent – was even lower for those staying in a private room. “A lower ratio was caused by medical inflation. Clients might not have reviewed their insurance plan regularly and added to premium payments,” Zenda Chan said.