>> Apr 15, 2013
If you are a mum or dad then looking after the health of your family is going to be a priority. We are lucky enough in the UK to get free healthcare on the NHS, but this does sometimes mean we have to wait for treatment and may not see a consultant of our choice.
Taking out a family health insurance policy is a great way to get private medical care for you and your children, but it can be a minefield when it comes to getting the right plan. Here is our guide to family health insurance to help make the process easier.
Cover all family members
One of the great things about family health insurance is that you can group all members under the same premium, including your children. Whilst a child is normally considered to be someone under the age of 18, some insurers will accept people under the age of 25 as a child in a family policy as long as they are in full time education. Generally speaking, it does not cost much to add a child to a plan and in many cases they are actually free to cover. In terms of practicality, family health insurance makes a lot more sense than individual plans.
Choose parent accommodation
Most family health insurance policies will cover inpatient and day-patient treatment in a private hospital or ward, even if you choose the most basic of plans. This means that if you or a family member needs to be admitted to a bed you will be covered for this cost. One optional extra that you could look for in a policy is parent accommodation. Many private hospitals offer rooms with a place for a parent to stay if their child is admitted for treatment overnight. Different health insurers will have varying age limits on the child for this, but if you have young children then parent accommodation could offer great peace of mind.
Consider outpatient cover
Not all health insurance policies cover outpatient treatment, but for busy families it might be worth considering. Outpatient treatment is when you receive treatment in hospital or a clinic but do not get admitted. Scans and diagnostic tests are often carried out as an outpatient treatment, as are appointments with a specialist. If you do not fancy waiting on the NHS for a consultant or diagnosis, choose a policy with reasonable outpatient cover. Some cheaper policies will put limits on the amount you can claim for outpatient cover in a year, like £500 or £1000.
Add dental and optical cover
Dental and optical cover is offered by some insurers as an optional extra to health insurance. Bolt-on optical and dental cover usually works as a separate health cash plan rather than as an integral part of your policy. For example, you could choose to cover up to £200 for routine dental and optical treatments a year. After receiving the treatment you would need to meet the costs yourself and then claim the money back from your insurer.
Choose a discount scheme
Whilst you cannot put a price on the healthcare of your family, most people have a budget to work within and need to keep premiums as low as possible. One way of doing this is to add a discount scheme like a reduced hospital list. A reduced hospital list means you will be covered for a smaller range of private hospitals than usual, for example only those local to you. This is a great way to cut costs, because you may not want to pay for hospitals that you and your family will never use.
Another popular discount scheme is adding an excess to the plan. With an excess you pay a fixed amount towards your private treatment, either once a year or for every claim. You can choose an excess ranging from £100 upwards, and you would be amazed what a difference it makes to the cost of your family health insurance.
Author: Chloe writes for ActiveQuote.com, a health insurance comparison website.