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Family health insurance
Protect the health of the ones you love.
Whether you’re looking to start a family or already have some toddlers or teens, there’s no more important thing than safeguarding the health of you and your family. There’s a lot to consider when comparing your options for family health insurance. Read on for the key points.
Why should I think about family health insurance?
A family policy can bring peace of mind that your family will be covered for a wide range of treatments, including at specialist or high-tech hospitals. If you add your partner and your children on to your individual policy, they’ll all be covered under a single umbrella policy. This could save you a few euros when compared to the cost of buying individual cover for each member of your family.
Having health insurance can also offer the following benefits:
- Quicker diagnosis and treatment
- Shorter waiting periods
- Better facilities, which may include a private room
What should I look out for in a policy?
Health insurance policies vary a lot and it’s no different for family plans. Generally speaking, a policy should include:
- In-patient treatment multiple hospitals and scan centres
- Outpatient treatment and consultations
- Flexibility to choose extras like physiotherapy, dental care, psychology, and more.
When comparing family health insurance, keep in mind the sort of care you’re most likely to need – if you have young children, then you may want to get a plan with comprehensive dental cover.
How long can children remain on a family policy?
Your children can be covered under your policy until they are considered adults by your health fund. The rules around dependants vary between funds, so do check each policy. Any independent adults won’t be covered by a family policy and will need to take out their own cover.
Health insurance tips for families
- Review your cover. As your children grow up and your circumstances change, so do your health insurance needs. Reviewing your policy each year ensures that you’re being covered for the things that matter most to your family.
- Avoid combined limits. When considering an extras policy, try and find one that offers individual benefit limits for each service rather than overall combined limits. Your family may exceed individual limits if they aren’t high enough.
- Don’t be afraid to switch. If you find a better policy offered by a different health fund, then consider changing. Before you do, make sure that any benefits and any served waiting periods will be honoured by your new fund.
- Split your cover. If one health fund has your ideal hospital policy, and another has a great extras policy, see if you can have a separate policy for each.
What isn’t covered under health insurance?
There are some common policy exclusions when it comes to health insurance. Generally you would not receive cover for the following:
- Chronic conditions. Health insurance doesn’t cover conditions that are long term or can’t be cured, for example asthma or diabetes.
- Pre-existing conditions. Your health insurance won’t cover you for conditions that you had previously developed before your policy began. If you shop around you may be be able to find cover if you pay an extra premium or if you meet specific criteria.
- Organ transplants. You’re not likely to find health insurance cover for organ transplants.
- Cosmetic surgery to improve your appearance. This is also not something that health insurance usually covers, however many insurers will pay for ‘eligible’ surgery required to restore appearance following an accident or cancer surgery.
There will be other exclusions so make sure you read and understand your policy document before signing up to any insurance.
Will my health insurance cover me while I’m abroad?
It’s uncommon for health insurance to cover you both at home and abroad – it’s likely that you’ll need two separate policies for this. Many travel insurance providers also offer medical cover for your trip overseas, for example.
How can I cut the cost of health insurance?
You may be able to choose a higher excess. This will make your premium lower, but be careful as it will make claiming on your policy more expensive. You could also get cheaper cover by reducing your choice of nominated hospitals, or selecting fewer benefits. But keep in mind that having the right cover in place for you and your family is more important than price alone.
What else do I need to know?
Remember to switch
Once your children become ineligible for cover under your family policy, be sure to switch to a couples policy, which is less expensive.
Cover for stepchildren
Family policies can allow you to cover children under the age of 21. This includes stepchildren, adopted children and permanent foster children.
If you’re getting divorced remember to keep your health insurance policy in place. If you allow your cover to lapse you may need to serve waiting periods again when you reapply.
Are there any deals I can take advantage of?
If you’ve just welcomed your new bundle of joy, expanding your family or your children are becoming adults, it always pays to come. To save money and get maximum value from your cover, keep an eye out for promotions offered by health funds.
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