Waiving of Medical Charges (For Non-eligible Persons)

Basic principles

The provision of public healthcare services in Hong Kong is primarily prioritised to meet the needs of Eligible Persons (EP). The Hospital Authority (HA) would only provide medical services for Non-eligible Persons (NEP) in emergency situations. In non-emergency situations, service provision for NEP is subject to HA’s capacity to provide such services without adversely affecting the services to EP on each episode. Medical services provided by HA for NEP are charged on cost recovery basis as per the Gazette. Before settlement of all outstanding fees, NEP would only be provided with medical services related to major public health threats or in emergency situations. Once the NEP patients are stabilized, they should be discharged or referred back to their own private doctors or their country of origin for continual care.

Therefore, for ensuring rational use of limited public resources, normally there is no waiving of medical charges of NEP unless there are exceptional circumstances with financial hardship. The term “exceptional circumstances” is general and what circumstances may constitute “exceptional circumstances” are not limited. For each application for waiving of medical charges, the HA will consider the circumstances of each patient and decide whether discretion shall be exercised in favour of waiving the medical charges and if discretion is exercised, whether it should be a full or partial waiver.

Application procedures

If the NEP patients want to apply for waiving of medical charges, they could, during office hours, approach Medical Social Workers (MSWs) of Medical Social Services Units of the public hospitals and clinics that they attended, or Social Workers (SWs) of Integrated Family Service Centres & the Family and Child Protective Service Units of the Social Welfare Department (SWD) for enquiry and/or making application.

All applications are subject to individual and household assessment. To enable MSWs/SWs to assess the application, patient/applicant must submit a completed “Application Form for Waiving of Medical Charges” (“Application Form”) and produce all the supporting documents and data required by MSWs/SWs.

The patient/applicant and patient’s core family members living under the same roof1 must provide complete, accurate, up-to-date and true information (including supporting documents and data) for and in support of the application. If the submitted information (including supporting documents and data) is not complete, the application may not be processed further. Before provision of any information (including supporting documents and data), the patient/applicant must read and procure the patient’s household members to read the “Notice to Patient” and “Notice to Client”.

1With effect from 18 June 2017, all new applications include patient and his/her core family members living under the same roof, which include patient’s parents, children, spouse and siblings aged below 18 or aged between 18–25 receiving full-time education, or disabled adult siblings (i.e. receiving disability allowance under the Social Security Allowance scheme or standard rates for 100% disabled or requiring constant attendance under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme). Legally recognised adoptive parents/children or illegitimate children with proof of parentage are also included.

The patient/applicant and patient’s household member(s) are required to sign the Declaration and Undertaking, i.e. Section 4 on the Application Form to confirm they well understand and agree to the contents of the Declaration and Undertaking.

If an application is approved, MSWs/SWs will issue medical fee waiver certificate to the applicant. The amount to be paid by patient, coverage of waiver and the date of waiving will be shown in the medical fee waiver certificate. If an application is not recommended/approved, MSWs/SWs will explain the reasons to the patient/applicant.

Important points to note

The HA/SWD may reject or refuse to consider any application, if the Declaration and Undertaking under Section 4 on the Application Form was not signed or supporting documents and data have not been provided.

The information in the Application Form and the supporting documents provided during the application for waiving of medical charges will be used to process and verify various aspects of the application, including assessment of the eligibility of the patient for medical charges waiving application and the amount to be waived.

If the social and/or financial status of the patient’s household changes after the submission of the application, including during the application process and the utilization of medical services, which affect the patient’s eligibility for waiving of medical charges, the patient, applicant (if the patient is not the applicant) or patient’s household member(s) should, as soon as he/she becomes aware of it, immediately notify the concerned MSWs/SWs of such change (whether or not the change relates to the patient or any household member) and provide all relevant information to the concerned MSWs/SWs. The relevant information may include:
(a) Change in conditions of patient/household (e.g. patient is no longer restrained by law from leaving Hong Kong);
(b) Change in financial situation (e.g. increase of income, receipt of or increase in the amount of financial contributions from relatives/friends, etc.);
(c) Increase of the total value of patient’s household assets.

The HA/SWD may revoke and/or vary the terms and conditions of the waiving of medical charges (in whole or in part including the amount of the medical charges waived) in the event of any such change.

If patient/applicant and/or patient’s household member(s) provides incomplete, inaccurate, obsolete or false information (including supporting documents and data) in the application form or the declaration and undertaking, it may result in rejection of the application, revocation in whole or in part of any waived medical charges and/or criminal prosecution. If the waiver of medical charges is revoked, such medical charges shall be recoverable by the HA as a debt. Patient/applicant must repay such medical charges to the HA.

The patient/applicant and/or patient’s household member(s) have the right to request access and make corrections to the personal data provided during the course of application. If a person providing personal data requests access to/correction of personal data kept by MSWs/SWs, he/she may contact the office which has collected the data from him/her for details of the procedure.

Appeal mechanism

If patient/applicant disagrees with the application result, he/she may lodge an appeal within four weeks after the notification of the application result by HA/SWD. Related enquiries can be made to the office which handles his/her application or the Patient Relations Officer of the concerned hospital.

Don't break the law

Poster for Medical fee assistance demands your honesty Acquiring Medical Fee Waiving by deception is a Criminal Offence. In addition to the consequence of being ineligible for the Medical Fee Waiving, the patient/ applicant/ patient's household member(s) shall be liable on conviction upon indictment to imprisonment of 10 years under the Theft Ordinance (Chapter 210 of the Laws of Hong Kong).


Hospital Authority
March 2021