Family health insurance

We've checked out how family health insurance could offer you and your loved ones shorter waiting times and faster treatment.

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The National Health Service (NHS) works hard to keep us all happy and healthy. But with its services stretched to the limit, waiting times for tests, diagnosis and treatment can take several weeks. A family health insurance policy could offer you and your family the peace of mind in avoiding these delays, and the help and treatment you need when you need it most.

What is family health insurance?

Family health insurance is designed to work in conjunction with the NHS. If you require medical assistance, you or your family members would still need to visit a GP or an NHS Accident & Emergency department but it’s what happens next that differs.

By letting the medical professionals know that you have a family health insurance policy, and telling your insurer you want to make a claim, you and your children under the age of 18 will be able to access tests or specialists’ referrals quickly, rather than having to wait in long queues. And because there’s no delay in the diagnosis, you can also be treated much faster.

By paying for family health insurance, you can, in some cases, select your own private hospital, your own doctor and be treated in your own private room.

How does family health insurance work?

There are several types of family health insurance on the market, but essentially they should all cover, to some degree, the cost of private healthcare. Just as other insurance policies work, a family health insurance policy will see the policyholder pay premiums on a monthly or annual basis and then receive a payout, up to a certain amount, for any treatment needed.

While some policies offer only limited medical care, other policies can be more comprehensive. Then there are flexible policies that can also be tailored with extra cover to suit the family as required.

Having a family health insurance policy can mean that you, your spouse or partner and any of your children under the age of 18 can be covered. In some situations, even your children that are studying in full-time education might also be covered until they reach 25, but it’s always worth checking before you take out a policy.

What are the benefits of family health insurance?

Taking out a family health insurance policy can offer you and your loved ones several benefits such as:

  • Peace of mind that you and your family will be taken care of when you need it.
  • Avoiding long waiting times that are common with the NHS.
  • Access to faster diagnosis and treatment through private hospitals.
  • Access to better facilities such as private accommodation.

How much does family health insurance cost?

The cost of a family health insurance policy will vary depending on a number of factors. These include:

  • The level of cover you choose. Choosing a more comprehensive policy over basic or mid-range cover will mean your premiums are likely to increase.
  • Where you and your family live. Unfortunately, health insurance policies typically cost more in certain areas of the UK. Some of the priciest regions are London and the south-east while Scotland is one of the cheapest.
  • How old you and your spouse are. If you and your spouse are relatively young, with young children, you can expect to pay much less than a much older couple and their children. Age is often coupled with greater medical risk, and with greater medical risk comes increased premiums from the insurer.
  • You and your family’s medical history. If you have a pre-existing condition that runs in the family, your premiums are likely to be higher due to the increased risk.
  • You and your family’s lifestyle. If you and your family eat well, exercise regularly, avoid smoking and rarely drink alcohol, you can expect your premiums to be less than a family that does smoke and regularly drinks alcohol.

How to find the best family health insurance

Finding the best family health insurance policy will very much depend on your own circumstances. What might work for you and your loved ones might not work for another family.

Family health insurance will differ depending on the type of policy and the provider that is offering it. That said, a good policy should offer the following cover:

  • Consultations and tests
  • Hospital stays
  • Surgery and treatment

It’s worth remembering to do some research and compare policies to find the cover that matches your requirements.

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