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Child health insurance

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What is private health insurance for children?

Child health insurance is designed to cover the cost of the treatment needed if your child becomes ill.

While plans differ, having child health insurance could mean:

  • Faster access to medical care for your child
  • Access to treatments and tests that aren’t available on the NHS
  • Treatment in comfortable private hospitals and clinics
  • Support and accommodation for you while your child is being treated.

Child health insurance is not a replacement for NHS care, and certainly doesn’t stop your child from using NHS services for free – it just means that in certain situations your child is covered for private medical care.

Reducing your list of chosen hospitals and upping your excess could help lower your premium.

Our partners at Assured Futures can offer expert advice to help you find the right level of cover for your child’s care.

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What kind of child health insurance policies are there?

There are various kinds of child health insurance – it’s quite a complex area. Child health insurance is generally available for children aged up to 18 or potentially 24 if in full-time education. Here are a few of the options you might have:

  1. Inpatient-only plans. These only cover your child for treatment in a hospital.
  2. Plans that include outpatient treatment. These more comprehensive plans will also cover private care for your child as an outpatient.
  3. Child health cash plans. If your child visits a dentist or other medical professional, you can get a cash sum towards the cost of the visit or treatment.

With all plans, the care your child is covered for will have conditions and limits. Be sure to consider carefully before you buy and check the T&Cs.

What does child health insurance typically cover?

What’s covered may vary from provider to provider, and the type of policy. For example, many providers offer a basic, mid-range and comprehensive plans. The more comprehensive it is, the more the insurance is likely to cost.

A basic plan might only cover inpatient treatment. A mid-range plan will cover inpatient care, plus outpatient costs and therapies. A comprehensive policy could offer:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Specialist treatment options not available through the NHS
  • Private accommodation – including accommodation for parents of children under 16 so you can stay with your child or nearby
  • Outpatient care (e.g. follow up tests, scans etc.)
  • Physiotherapy
  • Mental health issues.

Some policies will also give you access to advice, which can be really useful to parents, particularly in the early stages of parenthood with worries about colic or chickenpox.

You may also be able to add options to your policy for extra cover at additional cost such as:

For example:

  • Dental care
  • Eye care
  • Physiotherapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Mental health support
  • Protheses
  • Nursing care at home.

What doesn’t child health insurance cover?

Before you buy health insurance for your child, check the terms and conditions for any exclusions. For example, many policies typically exclude cover for:

  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Chronic conditions like diabetes or arthritis
  • Kidney dialysis
  • Organ transplants
  • Injuries caused by dangerous sports or activities
  • Hearing aids
  • Mobility aids
  • Cosmetic treatment.

Frequently asked questions

Will my child need a medical check to get healthcare insurance?

It depends. Some policies need you to sign a declaration about any pre-existing conditions or issues that you know about. Others will require the child to have a health check or medical.

What's the maximum age child a policy will cover?

It depends on the provider. It could be 18 or 21 for dependents, but some will insure children up to 24 who are still in full-time education. If this is important for you and your children, check the age in the policy documents before you buy.

Does my child still have to live with me?

No, you don’t all have to live at the same address. Your child can still be covered if, for example, they live with their other parent but are still dependent on you or they’re at university.

How much does child health insurance cost?

Because policies vary so much in terms of what they cover, it’s hard to give an exact figure. The amount you’ll pay can also depend on how old your child is, which area of the UK you live in, the level of cover you want and your child’s medical history.

But policies don’t have to be expensive. Our comparison service will help you find deals from a range of providers, allowing you to compare prices and features to find the right deal. If you need help in understanding the different choices available, please call 0808 141 1244 to speak to a friendly adviser who can talk you through your options.

How can I get cheaper child health insurance?

You could also try to lower the cost of your child health insurance policy by:

  • Paying a higher excess – this will bring down the cost of the premium. Just make sure you can afford to pay the excess if you need to make a claim.
  • Reducing your chosen hospital list – cutting down your choice of private hospitals might lower your premium or get you a discount.
  • Adding a ‘six-week clause’ – some policies only let you claim if you can’t get the same treatment on the NHS within six weeks. This could help you get a cheaper premium.

Alternatively, you can buy a family policy and add your children on. This could work out cheaper than insuring everyone individually, so it’s worth comparing.

Find out more about family health insurance.

If your employer offers medical insurance as an employee benefit, you may find also that you can add your child or partner to that policy for an extra cost.

Does my child need private healthcare?

Private healthcare for children offers you peace of mind in the knowledge that, should something happen, your child will be looked after by medical experts in a timely manner. With private health insurance for children, your child will be able to benefit from these facilities and treatment options without the unexpected cost. Don’t worry though, even with a private healthcare plan, your child will still be entitled to receive free NHS care.

What else do I need to know about health insurance for children?

Here are some of the key factors to be aware of when choosing a policy:

  • You can’t go private for everything. For example, accident and emergency treatments aren’t covered – though, of course, the NHS will still provide the care your child needs.
  • Pre-existing conditions are usually excluded. For example, if your child has asthma when you buy the policy, asthma treatments won’t usually be covered.
  • Your child can usually only use certain hospitals and treatment centres. When you buy a policy, you’ll typically choose a list of hospitals and treatment centres where your child will be covered. The broader the selection, the higher your premium will be.
  • Insurance providers set maximum amounts for procedures. If you choose a specialist whose charges are higher than the limit for a particular procedure, you’ll have to cover the difference in cost.
  • Your child might not always be treated in a private hospital. Depending on the policy you choose, your child may be put in a private patient unit within an NHS hospital or end up on an NHS ward rather than in a private room.

How to compare child health insurance quotes

You can get a quote for just your child/children or a family health insurance policy that includes your children and/or your partner using our comparison tool.

Mubina Pirmohamed

Insurance expert

What our expert says

“Have a good think about the level of cover you want for your child before making a decision. There might be eventualities you want to exclude like illnesses and conditions covered by the NHS. This may also help lower your premium. Remember, your private health insurance is designed to work alongside the NHS, so you can get the right care for your child from both healthcare systems.”

What do I need to get a quote?

Once you’re ready to get a quote, we’ll need a few details about you and your child, including:

  • Your child’s age – we offer quotes for children under the age of 18
  • Any pre-existing conditions
  • The level of cover you want
  • Maximum excess.
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