A 29-year-old Filipino domestic worker suffering from an infection in her left eye has failed to get medical coverage from the insurance package provided by her employer in Hong Kong.
The woman, who prefers to stay anonymous by calling herself “Jelay,” told Asia Times that her employer took her to Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, a public hospital in Tai Po in the New Territories, for a check on a badly bloodshot eye on November 13. Her employer paid the HK$180 (US$23) medical fee.
On November 19, Jelay visited the hospital alone for a follow-up check and paid a fee of HK$180 herself. She was referred to a specialist on the following day. She then paid another HK$135 for an eye swab and HK$75 for a check on whether there was a worm inside her eyeball.
Suffering from blurred vision in her left eye, Jelay was told by her boss to pay the medical costs herself, as they were not included in the coverage of her insurance package. To date, Jelay’s left eye has not fully recovered.
Jelay, who started working in Hong Kong in 2014 and has served her current employer for more than a year, said she was considering filing a complaint against her boss to the Labor Department. She said she was worried that she would have to pay all her hospital bills if she got seriously ill in the future.
According to Hong Kong law, employers are responsible for the medical costs of their domestic workers.